My evenings and weekends have been subsumed by my studies, making weekend getaways more challenging this year. To combat cabin fever, we’ve been spending more time hiking, which has proven to be the perfect weekend activity—a good amount of time being active outdoors but without taking up the entire weekend so I still have time to do all of my homework.
We recently decided to check out Lake 22, a Granite Falls hike up to an alpine lake that the Washington Trails Association reviews suggested would likely be snowy. We love the snow and thought our Heather Lake hike was beautiful so we were excited to check it out!
It ended up being an amazing day for Lake 22, and apparently others agreed because both the main parking lot and overflow lot across the street were completely full when we arrived. Thankfully Brian was able to grab the last spot heading into the lot from the road—there were signs all along the road that read ‘no parking’ so I’m not sure what we would have done otherwise! We locked up, grabbed our supplies and trekking poles and quickly hit the trail.
There was a ton of water on the trail and at points it seemed like we we hiking up an active riverbed. Once we made it through the major sections of water we came to a clearing and a rocky stretch of switchbacks overlooking the surrounding valley.
Despite the fog, we were able to make out the nearby mountains which looked incredible draped in clouds! There were a few people passing us on their way back down to the parking lot, but for the most part we had the trail to ourselves.
We were really happy to have our poles, both to navigate the wet rocks on our way through the woods and the dry rock fields at the clearing. Several people mentioned to us that they wished they had brought theirs for some added stability climbing back down over all of the rocks as well.
Once we passed through the clearing and headed back under the tree cover, the temperature started to noticeably cool and we began to encounter snow on the trail! It was getting slick thanks to multiple people tamping it down but we took our time and stopped occasionally to look around.
During one of our stops a fellow hiker offered to take our picture in the snow– one of the few non-selfie pictures from our hiking adventures!
When climbed up one small hill and straight ahead we could see the lake through the trees surrounded by beautiful snowy mountains! It was absolutely breathtaking!
We followed the trail to a divide and turned right to catch the extremely snowy path around the lake. Those before us had created a trail through the snow, which was somewhat helpful, but it was fairly slow going in certain places where we were trekking through feet of snow!
As we made our way around the lake, the clouds cleared just enough for us to enjoy blue skies as we gazed up on the mountains. Occasionally we would hear loud cracking and snapping and look up in time to see small avalanches cascading down the rocky faces of the surrounding mountains, creating piles of snow at the base.
Our trail hugged the water so we were away from the falling snow and clear of any danger. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced avalanches before and it was interesting to watch from a safe distance!
As we finished our loop around the lake, we ended by a wooden bridge crossing over the stream leading away from the lake.
There were several groups of people taking pictures, sitting around eating a snack, and just taking in the lake and mountains. Not everyone was completing the loop around the lake–some people had just hiked to this viewpoint and were turning around and heading back down the trail.
Thanks to Brian’s panoramic iPhone skills, I have some beautiful pictures of the full view of Lake 22!
Our descent was easy and I was able to enjoy a few things I had missed on our way up. I noticed several old growth trees, and I loved the exposed root systems that creating interesting patterns along the trail.
We were also thrilled to find that the sun had broken through the fog and that our open valley was bathed in light. The surrounding mountains were lit up and I was so happy to see the clearing in both weather conditions all on the same hike!
All told our hike was 6.7 miles and featured 1,450 feet of elevation gain. I enjoyed both the forested portions of the hike as well as our snowy trek around Lake 22 and would highly recommend it!