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Lake 22 Trail Guide: A Breathtaking Day Hike in the North Cascades

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Lake 22 Overview:

  • Region: North Cascades (Mountain Loop Highway)
  • Trail: Lake 22
  • Trail length: 5.4 round trip
  • Elevation Change: 1,350 foot gain
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Attractions: Alpine Lake, views of surrounding peaks, small waterfalls, old-growth forest

Lake 22 GPS Coordinates: 48.0770, -121.7457 tying boots by Lake 22Directions to the Lake 22 hiking trail: This trail offers some of the best hiking near Seattle one could ever hope for. Take Highway 92 to Granite Falls, where it ends and becomes East Stanley Street. Go east 0.3 miles, and then turn left (north) onto North Alder Avenue, which turns into the Mountain Loop Highway. About 10 miles later, enter the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. Continue another 2 miles past the entrance to the forest, and you’ll pass over Twentytwo Creek. Go 0.4 miles further, and turn right at the entry for the Lake 22 trailhead. The parking area is located along a gravel loop and holds nearly 50 cars. There is a privy available. lake 22 trailheadLake 22 Trailhead Preparations and Hiking Safety Tips: At the Lake 22 trailhead, there are well-kept bathrooms and ample parking. The trail is very well maintained with bridges and boardwalks throughout, however, there are many small creeks that run over the trail so waterproof GORE-TEX boots, like our  Mammut Comfort High GTX® SURROUND® hiking boots, are a must. hiking boots on carStarting the Lake 22 Hike: It is always a good idea at the beginning of a hike to take a moment to register. Many trails offer a specific place for this at the beginning of the hike. Leave your name, party size, and a time you should be expected back. It’s a great way to make sure you are safe and that help is sent if need be. Also at the beginning of this trail, you’ll find a large informational board. Take a quick note of any restrictions or wildlife sightings in the area. In the spring, the beginning of the trail can be a little muddy, so take your time navigating your way around. You’ll find that the trail is very well maintained and easy to traverse. The trail climbs steadily through the old-growth forest and soon you will find yourself crossing the bridge over Twentytwo Creek. At .6 miles in, it’s a great place to stop for a water break and get a good photo of the waterfall. Water on this hiking trail is constant and stays through all seasons so a good pair of waterproof hiking boots is a must. The trail continues through the forest at a steady incline until you hit the rocky switchbacks. Here, the hiking trail opens up as you exit the forest and on a clear day offers views of the surrounding peaks. This part of the trail requires a little more attention as the rocks can get slippery and foot placement sloppy, but it’s probably the only part of the trail considered “tough terrain”. lake 22 cliff The well-groomed trail becomes all rock and progresses into a few steep switchbacks. The trail slips back into the woods and you are almost to the top. Back under the cover of tall pines and old cedars the trail winds steadily toward the lake. Once you've stepped onto the bridge at the lake's outflow you've reached the top. With a panoramic view of Lake 22 this is a great place to rest, take in the view, and get a beautiful photo. In the late spring/summer months, the trail continues as a boardwalk that circles the entire lake. It is asked that you stay on the boardwalk and away from the steep boulder fields around the far side of the lake. A fun scramble is tempting but it can be dangerous. My wife and I enjoy Lake 22 and have hiked it in every season. You can snowshoe in the winter and sometimes into early spring, or you can swim at the top on a hot summer day. creek in washington Heather Lake offers a similar hike not far from Lake 22 in the North Cascades. It has some of the same terrain, though it’s a bit shorter at 4.6 miles. And there is a beautiful alpine lake as a reward. Lake 22 Hiking Essentials:

  • GORE-TEX SURROUND® footwear
  • Backpack with support
  • A light GORE-TEX jacket (there is always a chance of rain in the PNW)
  • Water
  • Camera
  • Snacks
  • Small stove to heat water and make a warm drink (cocoa or tea)
  • Hammock
  • Swimsuit for summer hikes
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