Updated snow section below from December 2020!
It is a long day hike, but a wonderful set of views with the first few miles going up a well worn, but no longer used, logging road.
OK – how do you get there? Very simply, head east on I-90 to Snoqualmie Pass. Take exit 54 and head towards Gold Creek. The Gold Creek Pond and area very popular, so recommend you arrive early (before 8 AM). It will get packed very quickly and you want to enjoy the cooler weather in the morning for the long hike.
It is possible many people may get discouraged or distracted because the original trail and road entrance are blocked off.
Apparently, this winter, the weather was a little rough and the creek wiped out (most) of the road. But don’t worry, there is just enough of the gravel road left you can cross the creek without having to find a path through the water.
The first few miles are quite easy, not too steep and some people may find this part of the hike boring. However, some of the views as you climb up to the Kendall Peak are simply amazing. Check out Mt. Rainier in the background!
Update from December 2020: hiking and snowshoeing on the same route!
It is nice groomed for several miles with tons of offshoot trails to explore if you have great snowshoes and adventurous spirit!
Noe back to the original post…
The best part of the path up, for those who are very observant, are all the hidden treasures you can encounter and check out along the way. Who has ever seen little frogs in a small little marsh area at 4,000 feet elevation?
and if you scrutinize some of the subtleties in the overall offshoot paths, you can even discovery some hidden Doomsday Prepper hideouts that are clearly being used and stocked by some unknowns!
Our mail goal was to find the elusive Kendall Lakes. They are not found on the main trail and you have to use map and/or GPS to find a route to reach the three individual lakes.
Of course we wore masks and remained socially distance, but it turns out when we did find the first lake, it was VERY buggy.
The masks were almost needed to not eat a mouthful of bugs when you breathe. You also need bug repellent or you will be fall down to a wave of zombie mosquitoes in seconds.
We scrambled a bit north through the marsh to the north even when a trail was not clearly present. Fortunately, as we starting climbing through the trees, we found some older trail blazes! Perfect!
I had not seen these before and eventually found a sign indicating their purpose and protection. Very cool to learn history in this very old hiking trail.
Speaking of cool, at this elevation, we finally starting encountering snow that was not melting even though it was July!
With persistence and commitment, we found the second lake. It was pristine and so green in color. The water was still, yet crystal clear. You could even see the occasional Trout fish moving around 50 meters away.
A hidden gem with almost not a single person in sight.
We did not want to give up yet, so we very slowly scrambled around the second lake in very steep terrain to find a way to reach the higher level elevation third lake. We found the outflow from the 3rd lake, but if you look up, this would be a treacherous climb and we have already been hiking for 4 hours.
Conclusion: backpack and spent the night at one of the rare camping spots available and then spend a day hike climbing up to the 3rd lake.
We chose to head back and finish traversing around the second lake and then we found a very unusual hidden treasure. Check out the bridge of snow! It has been covered with as much as 12 inches of dirt and debris an has not melted. Quite a sight and one of the many gems of this great hiking area that is less than 1 hour away from Seattle.