Snow Lake Trail

MODERATE 888 reviews
#1 of 31 trails in

Snow Lake Trail is a 6.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Snoqualmie Pass, Washington that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from July until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
6.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,669 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

birding

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

snowshoeing

walking

beach

forest

lake

hot springs

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

rocky

snow

The first 2 miles are direct, and the final has rock blasted switchbacks to the top of the ridge. Pay attention to signs as you need to branch right off the trail about 2 miles in. You can extend or shorten the hike by stopping right when you get to the lake or by hiking further along it. In winter, you can snowshoe here, but it will be much more difficult to find the trail. Please note that snow is still being reported on the trail as of late June 2018. Dress accordingly and bring the proper gear.

2 days ago

Great hike. Beautiful views.

hiking
2 days ago

Go to BelSquare if you want to be around this many people. Beautiful lake. Lots of bugs. Very scenic trail.

2 days ago

Hike is beautiful, but it is so packed and literally ZERO trail etiquette. Lots of loud people on the trail. Because of the amount of people we turned off snow lake and went up to another small lake. Couldn’t get down to the water but had beautiful views and ended up being a 5 mile in and out hike. Won’t do it again but it is very beautiful.

3 days ago

Solid trail. Not tough but good length. Bring that bug spray and get an early start because it gets busy but great longer hike for beginners.

hiking
4 days ago

This was our 1st hike and we were ill prepared. I thought a pair of Nike Tennis would be fine, but boy was I wrong. The hike was beautiful though. Swimming in the lake was very rewarding. My feet hated me afterwards however!

hiking
6 days ago

Harder than expected but the views were beautiful the entire way and the lake is perfect to swim in!

6 days ago

The view is gorgeous! The hike overall isn't bad, some incline spots where in hot weather (about 85 degrees when I went) seem overwhelming, but it's more the heat that gets to you so would definitely recommend getting there earlier to avoid midday heat. Pay attention to markers. The 1st lookout of the lake is beautiful, (huge rock overlooking the lake from up high), but I wouldn't stop there. Go right from there to lead you on the trail which will lead you down to the lake and from there it's up to you how close you want to get or if you want to get it. I didn't think the bugs were bad on this particular day either. Also, you don't need hiking boots (I used tennis shoes) but if you got them it would be nice because going down hill will be easier. It'soverall a pretty rocky trail, but lake is worth it. Didn't take that long either to get to the lake a little over 3 miles (just to).

hiking
7 days ago

Arrived at the trailhead by 10am and there was already plenty of people there (even though it was a Tuesday). The trail is pretty rocky but in great shape. It was close to 90 degrees so jumping in the lake was a great way to cool off! The bugs were not too bad at all either. This is a great hike, easily accessible and not too difficult.

hiking
8 days ago

Beautiful mountain lake--and larger than you think. Well worth the hike!

hiking
9 days ago

First of all I have to give a big thank you to the forest service crews maintaining the trail. They were out in force and doing an awesome job! Thank you!!

Parking wasn’t an issue for us but please oh please people learn to park without lines! We noticed so many wasted spaces when we arrived at 9am. You could park so many more cars in there if you just park properly.

The trail is one of the best trails I have hiked in terms of maintenance. No it isn’t smooth as glass and without flaws. It is the way it should be, rocky, challenging, etc. This isn’t a trail for your flip-flops.

In terms of foot traffic, this is where my rating went to 4. The trail was crowded with kids and their music, cutting the switchbacks (a pseudo “trail” is being worn in from the pass at Snow Lake down to the lake cutting through the switch backs), partying at Snow Lake. Their trail etiquette was severally lacking, For this reason I see why the Forest Service spends a lot of time working there. It would have been nice seeing someone with authority checking tags on packs and adding some sense of order to the chaos they brought with them.

While the lake and the view around it really is breathtaking, finding a peaceful place to enjoy it was extremely difficult. The base of the trail at the lake was crowded with cannonballs, drones, music and excessive drinking. If you do find a spot be prepared for it to be invaded by other people seeking refuge from the kids. For this reason, I recommend that you keep going to Gem Lake or beyond as this seems to be beyond the range of the parties. 3-4pm seems to be the hour that the parties leave and head back. Be prepared to be trampled if you are already on your way down ahead of them.

As a side note we were amazed at the number of people still coming up as we were heading down.

Lastly, we heard that there were a lot of bugs to contend with. Our challenge was biting flies before we put repellent on. I cannot say enough good about “Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Natural Insect Repellent Pump”. I don’t like 100% DEET so try to stay away from it. I heard good things about Repel and it lives up to it. We sprayed ourselves down with Repel and no more biting flies and no numb tongue that usually comes with DEET!! We did bring the Ultrathon 20 lotion with DEET just in case we came across stubborn bugs but never needed it.

All in all we will do this trail again and prepare to go to Gem or beyond, probably not on a holiday or weekend.

9 days ago

amazing view

hiking
9 days ago

Amazing hike. Very crowded, rocky and tons of bugs but worth it.

hiking
10 days ago

We hiked this trail on a week day. It starts off pretty mild to moderate in difficulty, but then the constant hiking on broken loose rocks and exposed tree roots made it a bit more challenging. We didn’t get much of a view at the top due to the weather but It was still nice. Not sure I want to hike this trail again due to all the rocks, but not completely opposed to it as long as it’s a day that would allow for a view of the lake .

10 days ago

Gorgeous views and fairly moderate hike with consistent elevation gain. It’s a little buggy at the bottom so big spray is recommended, but the water is the perfect temp for a quick dip

hiking
11 days ago

Beautiful trail even on a cloudy day. Slower hike due to rocky paths, especially on the switchbacks, but not difficult (moderate). Don't stop at the top keep going down to the lake to find a tranquil spot off the trail. Reasonably busy even though it was early on a Friday morning.

hiking
12 days ago

Hiked 7/28/18.

13 days ago

Extremely pretty. Not as pretty as Bandera Mountain. But flowers throughout the trail. Not to hard until you the last half mile or mile. Loose rocks that you have to step up on. Bugs are bad so wear spray. The lake is extremely pretty.

13 days ago

Beautiful hike. Lake is stunning. Make sure you have bug spray. My only complaint about this hike is it’s very rocky. So rocky that you spend more time looking at your feet to make sure you don’t trip rather then enjoying the scenery. I would highly recommend hiking shoes if you care about your feet :) At the end of the day. All that aside this is not a hike worth missing!

hiking
13 days ago

This is one of our favorite PNW hikes! We went on a Tuesday morning, not as busy as summer weekends and was perfect. If you want a good (more comfortable) spot near the lake then I would start your hike as close to sunrise as possible and enjoy your day there (even weekdays). It took us around 1.5 hours to get up to the view point (we stopped several times as friends of ours who are beginners needed breaks). It takes about 30 minutes from lake view point to get down to the actual lake. In total, it took around 2 hours to actual lake at a medium leisure speed with little water breaks.

When close to lake arrival, you will be stuck at a crossroads of going right or left down to a lake spot (there is a sign). We chose to go right where the sign said main trail (meaning you walk over a few stream rocks and back onto trail). I’m curious about going left, but did not and is an option. Let me know if you have information, might try next time. If you look to jump off the popular cliff, go right.

To be honest, the bugs were worse on the hike part than at the lake, bring bug spray for sure as it helps!

Many say this, and it’s true. You can do this hike in tennis shoes, but not smart. This is quite a rocky hike (still well-maintained) and highly recommend wearing hiking shoes with ankle support and good traction.

If you are not aware of hiker etiquette, I recommend looking it up. We passed several with music playing from speaker, people leaving dog poop bags throughout, spraying bug spray while others passing and hikers coming back down not respecting space of hikers going up. Not a big deal, everyone was very friendly...

In summer, beginners can do this hike and will be a workout! Bring lots of water, lunch and you will feel so accomplished and inspired in the end. For more frequent hikers, it fits the moderate rating and for some even easy. You will get a workout too, has some fun switchbacks. FYI, the beginning is an uphill climb and does not last too long. You will get a decent flat break and the future uphill switchbacks are more manageable (still getting heart rate pumping) with a few steep ones. For those who run up this trail (there were some) you are rock stars...

Enjoy Snow Lake, so beautiful! If you can, bring a tube and/or light raft...we did, so worth it and fun! Make sure if you do this, you tie yours to a tree or have a paddle...it’s a big lake and you will most likely drift around. The rope worked great for us, just chilled for hours with some Lagunitas and/or bubbly...

hiking
15 days ago

Despite the fact that the hike was VERY rocky, overall it was a good hike and a workout. For beginners I wouldn’t suggest this trail, due to the fact that it took us three hours to get to the lake. If you plan on hiking this trial, bring LOTS of bug spray! Even though the hike was long, it was worth every step. The lake was very rewarding, keep in mind if you plan on swimming, swim in shoes due to the rocks. The lake is shallow, but as you swim further it gets deeper. The hike going back down was WAY easier than hiking up, which is relieving. The only problem about hiking down is the rocks, so be very cautious of your steps. The hike is also kid and pet friendly!

hiking
15 days ago

Packed trail both in and out but the views are worth it

hiking
15 days ago

Forest Rangers were awesome and lovely, they had a nice display at the trailhead. One of the rangers told me they counted 900 people yesterday on the trail! Wow. We are loving it to death! I'm a fan of daily paid hiking permits if they are done right and it helps the natural area heal after we hike all over it. In this case, they need daily hiking permits. The amount of people on the trail is tough bc you're constantly stopping for others to pass, etc. Plus the Seattle freeze on the trail is alive and well. As another poster said, just be more friendly please, that's why we do this to be in nature! Wonderful hike, but be prepared for the mosquitos. Also bc there are so many people you will constantly be sprayed by someone else upwind of you applying bug spray! Lol. A guy I was hiking close to and I got sprayed and he said "there's nothing like a DEET appetizer!". My videos are awesome but the background noise of young girls complaining of their hairstyles so loudly ruined them, lol. So yea, mentally prepare for the throngs of people!

hiking
15 days ago

Go early on the weekend. Bring extra bug spray. Mosquitos the moment you hop out of the car in the parking lot. Trekking poles help on the way down.

15 days ago

Hiked 7/28 starting at 9:40am. Great trail, snow lake was warm enough for swimming. Busy, but not overly so probably because of how hot it was.

16 days ago

Good hike. Very crowded even Sunday starting at 7:30am.
The lake is beautiful and the trail extends around it.

16 days ago

This hike was beautiful! The lake is well worth the extra 30 minutes down. Go for a swim if you can!! The only bad part was the crowd. It was the most crowded trail I have been on, and only 5/ 20 or so groups yielded to the hikers climbing up.

hiking
16 days ago

The hike is great! It's just the right amount for a moderate hiker. It feels easy til you arrive at the switchbacks and that is where the hike becomes moderate. You NEED good shoes for this hike. There are a ton of rocks, and some are small loose rocks. The crowd at this location made it less enjoyable, but it was too good not to give it 5 stars!
Spray with bug spray before and you will be good.

18 days ago

Very rocky, so wear good shoes. A few stream crossings were refreshing.

19 days ago

No complaints at all, gorgeous views and a gorgeous lake.

hiking
20 days ago

Pretty easy other than the switchbacks. Moderately shaded the whole way, and heavily trafficked for a Wednesday. Go over the rocks at the babbling creek with the little waterfall to stay on the main trail to the water’s edge (or continue onto gem lake). Ran up to the look out point in 50 min, another 20 min walk to the water’s edge. Running down was super easy as well. And to the girl I didn’t let pass on her way up I’m sorry! Hikers going up have the right away! Also why don’t any of you say hi to each other? We’re all here for Mother Nature so let’s make more friends :)

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