My partner and I decided to take work off on Monday (September 30, 20190 and did an 8.2-mile hike to Rachel Lake.
We got really lucky with this one because it had just got its first snowfall of the season. The snow added to the fall colors and made the lake look like it’s straight out of the Colgate commercial.
Location: Snolqualmie Region – Snolqualmie Pass
Length: 8 mi., roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 1600 ft. Highest Point: 4600 ft.
Parking Pass/Entry Fee: Northwest Forest Pass for day hiking (Discover Pass will not be acceptable). We used our America the Beautiful Pass that day, and we didn’t get a ticket. So according to the person the comment, America the Beautiful pass does cover for Northwest Forest Pass.
Camping at the lake: There were a few backpackers, and I saw two tents up at the lake. We’ll definitely be back next year to hike further to Rampart Lakes, Lila Lake, and the Alta Mountain since the trailhead is only an hour and a half drive from Seattle.
It took us a total of 6 hours as we started around 12:15 pm and did not get back to our car until 6:30 pm. There were about 5 cars in the parking lot, and I saw a few cute dogs. I would say the trail was moderate to strenuous (as in not too difficult) because of the obstacles like rocks, roots, waterfalls. My decision to wear a knee brace did save the day since my knees aren’t great. Of course, it’s not a fashion thing in case you’re wondering. I’ve sprained my knee after a ski trip to Steven Pass in February early this year.
The trail started off quite flat and boring BUT got really tough at the last mile with over 1000 ft gain or more in elevation. There weren’t clearly marked trails, so it did take us a few times to figure out which way to go. There were a lot of rocks, fallen trees, roots, and SNOW, especially when we got near the lake. The snow made it harder: wet, muddy, and slippery, but it added a dramatic effect and amazing contrast like a cherry-on-top to the whole experience.
Overall, it was such a fun hike, and I highly recommend hiking this late fall.
MORE HIKE WASHINGTON INSPIRATION:
FREMONT FIRE LOOKOUT
PINNACLE PEAK TRAIL