Skyline Lake

I needed to be back home by late afternoon. Gwen joined me for my first visit to Skyline Lake. It is a very popular snowshoe and ski destination. We met in Bothell and headed east. The ski area was open with a few lifts running but traffic was not bad. The Stevens base was only 21 inches this early. We parked on the north side of the highway and packed our snowshoes. It was just under 32 degrees at the start. We were on our way by 9:15 am. The forecast was for much warmer temperatures higher up. That proved very much to be true. We found the road and it was packed and cold enough to allow us to boot it at first. The sky was bright blue, a rarity for late November.

The road is pretty steep. We quickly left deep forest and were largely in the sunshine. The route went in and out of dense forest. The wind was strong all the previous day and we did not see many fresh prints in the snow. I had expected to see more folks early in this day. The road reached a tower and building and continued higher. Gwen had been up one time before and pointed out where she thought the route went over to Skyline Lake. Our goal was to continue up to the ridge top. The road turned away from the lake and we soon reached another tower and the end of the road. This installation included a cell tower. There was no problem with phone reception. Nice views out to Rock and Howard Mountains.

We put on our snowshoes here and started up in the trees. Well consolidated snow. Probably about three feet deep now. We were on a more defined ridge. Old Snowshoe tracks came and went. At the high point we had some more good views. To continue on the ridge we had to drop down. There is an impassible section. We dropped on steep snow and contoured back to the ridge top. Now it was possible to continue the descent on the ridge top. It was completely in forest so no views. We reached a saddle and climbed up another point. This one had open views. Glacier Peak was now in sight. Another drop and one more climb brought us to a great viewpoint.

We dropped down one last time and decided that we did not want to continue any farther. Instead we climbed back to the last high point for lunch. It was only about 11:30 am. The temperature was in the upper 40s at 5400'. With some sunshine it was very comfortable. Sloan Peak, the Monte Cristo Peaks, Glacier, and more were to the north. Mts. Lichtenberg and McCausland were to the northeast. To the south we could see Stuart, Daniel, and Hinman. Very nice views in all directions. Skyline Lake was was right below us but not in sight. We spent well over half an hour on top. It was less than two miles from the car. A great short hike to spectacular views. I see why it is such a popular hike.

We followed our track down to the saddle and then went right downhill to Skyline Lake. There were lots of tracks along the shore of the snow covered lake. It was a little bigger than I was expecting. No big crowds though we did hear one group to the right and a couple were to our left near the lake. Lots of camp robber jays descended on us. The bright sunshine was very warm. I really did not want to leave. We stayed a while then headed down. Lots of tracks leading back to the road. The hike on down went fast. We saw some folks heading up and some heading down. Two groups of skiers went by. There were a number of kids sledding on the lower part of the road. Back at the car it was warmer than the morning but much cooler than up higher.

My GPS totals for the trip were 3.2 miles with 1600' of elevation gain. Although the road is pretty steep this is not a very long or difficult trip. The lake is a worthwhile destination. The ridge has great views and is only a few hundred feet above the lake. The weather was just about perfect, the crowd was much less than I expected. We had a great time. I would not mind a winter camping trip to the lake. It was a fun trip and I was home well before dark.

Starting Out
Gwen Hikes The Road
Bright Blue Sky
Stevens Pass Ski Area
Gwen In Short Sleeves
Sun & Shade
First Tower
Howard & Rock Mts.
Steeper Climbing
Snowy Peaks
Sun On Peak
Lichtenberg Mountain
Ridge Top Snowshoeing
Gwen Enjoys Views
Glacier Peak Framed
Rock & Howard II
Daniel & Hinman
Heading To Lake
Skyline Lake
Clouds Over Lake
Camp Robber Jay
Encased In Snow
Ski Area Back In Sight
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2013