Lake 22

Normally a hike to Lake 22 in February would mean snowshoes and many feet of snow at the lake. This has not been a normal winter. Recent reports told of no snow at the lake. With lousy weather expected I figured a nice forest walk to a lake would be better than a summit with no views.  I was not in a hurry getting out the door and it was 10:25 by the time I drove up the Mountain Loop Highway to the trailhead. There were already 8 other vehicles in the lot. Doppler radar showed lots of rain on the west side of Puget Sound heading my way. I hoped to at least get up to the lake while it was still dry.

The trail is very easy though it is a bit more work than it used to be. Steps and gravel now are continuous from the bridge crossing to the lake. The trail is much drier though the slightly more than 500 steps are a bit tedious. Most of them are wooden frames filled with gravel rather than big steps which is somewhat better. It had rained overnight and the many small creeks were at high water. Lots of rock hopping but not hard to keep feet dry.

The overcast did really bring out the colors. There is lots of moss on the trail and it was a very bright green. Since it's only 2.7 miles to the lake I had plenty of time to stop for photo opportunities. This trail is part of an experimental area that was not logged. It has many large trees that are hard to find in this heavily logged valley. The gentle grade of the trail makes for easy hiking and even with many photo stops I still made good time.

I passed up the short side trail to the twin falls. I have so many photos of them. Well worth the effort for those who have not been there. The spur is at the last rightward switchback before the trail breaks out into the open and climbs up through the big open rock field. From that point good views to the north open up. Clouds were low but I could see a few snowy peaks. Most years throughout the winter and well into spring you will hit snow beyond the open rock field. Not this year. The trail was still snow free all the way to the lake. Even with lots of photo stops I reached the lake in 1:10 arriving at 11:35.

At the lake I decided to hike around in a clockwise direction. The lake itself is mostly frozen though the ice is very thin. The near vertical backdrop always looks best covered in snow but the snow is awfully thin for mid winter. The snowfield at the back of the lake looks more like July than February. I would not be brave enough to circle the lake in winter except there is no danger of an avalanche roaring down to the lake shore.

On my hike around the lake I kept listening for avalanches and did hear and see a few. Not as many as I expected but the steepness of the wall allows them to fall a long way. I was not alone and I did meet several groups at the lake. I hiked most of the way up with short sleeves though it was a little cooler in the lake basin. Hiking around the lake adds about 1.2 miles with almost no elevation change. After a short lunch break near the back side of the lake I finished my loop.

The trip down was fast. The rain began part way down through the rock field and slowly picked up intensity. I passed several groups of folks wearing just shorts and short sleeve shirts. My umbrella came out and that was enough to keep me dry. I took just about one hour to descend. Back at my car the rain really picked up. There were many more cars then though nearly half the lot was empty.

Lake 22 is a short drive and a short hike but is well worth the effort. The trees are huge, the grade is gentle, there are a number of waterfalls, and the snow covered walls of the lake basin are impressive. Even with a late start and a loop around the lake I was back at my car around 2:00. When the clouds are low and no views are to be had a nice forest walk to a lake makes for a fine day.

Natural Area Sign
Green Covers Everything
On The Trail
Twenty Two Creek
Some Of The Steps
Big Tree
Mossy Tree
Hiker On Open Slope
Snowy Peak
Moss On Logs
Green & Brown
More Moss & Leaves
Heading Back To Forest
Color On Slope
Avalanche Site
Cloudy Back Wall
Boardwalk On Trail
Thin Ice
Patterns On Ice
Nearing Back Of Lake
Open Water
Looking Down Lake
Where's The Snow
Only Snow On Trail
Blue Sky
Milky Color
Unusual Reflection
Reflected Snow
Last Year's Grass
Grass & Moss
Clouds Have Lifted
Another Moss Shot
Mossy Log
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2010