By Leslee Jaquette
My friend Shannon and I recently spent a delightful four-plus hours hiking the seven-mile round-trip trail to Annette Lake in the I-90 Corridor. Exiting at milepost 47, it’s only a couple of quick turns off the freeway and you are parked in the lot and ready to rock. Across the highway, the lot and road leading to the Granite Mtn trailhead is always much more packed.
I enjoyed the trek a great deal due to several factors. It’s super easy to access and offers a nice canopy for rainy days. It is offers protected hiking year round.
I also appreciate the reasonable slope of the trail and that it is well-maintained and relatively free of big cobbles that require huge, tiring step-ups. Also, the trail is sheltered by dozens of enormous firs, hemlocks and the occasional cedar. I doubt if they are old growth, but they are impressive, nonetheless.
Happily, the sun filtered through the trees all afternoon as me made our way up the 1,600-foot elevation gain to the pretty alpine lake. We could see numerous, relatively flat campsites for backpackers around the lake. Even though it was forecast to rain, we observed one intrepid couple heading in to backpack overnight this early November evening.
John Brink detailed Annette Lake for the Washington Trail Association:
The Annette Lake Trail begins just to the right of an information kiosk and the Asahel Curtis Nature Trail. Start down the trail into the forest of Douglas fir, hemlock and cedar. Listen to the sound of Humpback Creek, and in just 0.2 miles, cross over it, pausing here to take in one of the best tumbling falls in Washington.
After crossing the Iron Horse Trail, you continue to gain most of the elevation for this hike over the next 1.5 miles. Then it opens up as you traverse several talus slopes offering views of Granite Mountain to the north and Humpback Mountain to the west. These open slopes are also good places to see trillium and glacier lilies coming up through the receding snow of late spring.
After the last talus slope you enter the forest for a fairly flat hike to the north shore of Annette Lake. From the lake’s edge you can take in Abiel Peak to the southwest and Silver Peak to the east, as well as a waterfall descending into the lake’s east shore. The camping area is just a short walk to the east.
Annette Lake (#1019)
Mt. Baker Snoqualmie National Forest, Snoqualmie Ranger District
Location Snoqualmie Pass
Length 7.5 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 1400 ft.; Highest Point: 3600 ft.
Rating 3.50 out of 5
Pass Required Northwest Forest Pass required
Guidebooks & Maps
Day Hiking Snoqualmie Region (Dan A. Nelson & Alan L. Bauer – The Mountaineers Books)
Green Trails Snoqualmie Pass No. 207
USGS Snoqualmie Pass
Green Trails Snoqualmie Pass Gateway No.207S
From Seattle, drive east on I-90 to exit 47 (Asahel Curtis/Denny Creek). Turn right from the off-ramp and continue 0.25 mile, then turn left on Forest Road 5590. You’ll find the parking area in 0.3 mile. Toilets are located on the north side of the parking area.
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What do you like about Annette Lake?
By Leslee Jaquette