Hike description: Annette Lake is reached by a well maintained and easily accessed trail and it’s not too far afield, making it a popular destination for South Sound hikers. The high point on the trail to Annette Lake is only 3,600 feet, so that in terms of snowfall, this qualifies as a lower elevation hike. With its location in the trees and on a north facing slope, this trail can hold its snowpack longer than you might expect. This is particularly true when we have a cold spring in the Pacific Northwest as happened in 2011 and is on track to be duplicated in 2012.
The trail is steep and narrow in spots which can get slippery when wet or snow-covered, so use caution when hiking this trail in less than perfect conditions. Expect a full parking lot on a sunny weekend, so arrive early. Or, check out the trail midweek.
The hike itself begins with a modest elevation gain, gets your heart pumping with a few switchbacks, then levels off nicely for the last 3/4 mile into beautiful Annette Lake. Nestled below Silver and Abiel peaks, this subalpine lake is surrounded by forest and cliffs. A lovely waterfall will serenade you as you enjoy your lunch on the eastern shore of the lake. On a cool day, a thermos of hot soup and an insulated pad to sit on will make you think you’re in absolutely the right place as you feast your eyes on the lake.
When you’ve tired of the view of serenity of the lake turn around and retrace your steps back to the trailhead, savoring each step of the descent through the forest.
Directions: Travel east on Interstate 90 to Exit 47 (Denny Creek). Exit right, take the first right at the stop sign, then left on road 5590 to the parking lot.
Difficulty rating: 3 (1 is easiest, 5 is most difficult)
Miles round trip: 7.5
Elevation: 1400 feet
Best time of year: June-November
Map: Green Trails 207 Snoqualmie Pass
Pass: Northwest Forest Pass for each vehicle
Also: Always check on road and trail conditions before setting out and carry the 10 Essentials in your pack, no matter how close to I-90 you are. The caution to be adequately prepared with extra clothing in case of a change in weather is reinforced during periods of our wet, cold, rainy weather. Practice Leave No Trace travel and do remember to pack out all your own trash. This trail is heavily traveled so it behooves us all to be good citizens and carry a bag to pick up the bits and pieces of trash that flutter out of others pockets.
Info: North Bend Ranger Station, Snoqualmie Ranger District, Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, 425-888-1421; fs.usda.gov/main/mbs/home; “Day Hiking Snoqualmie Region,” Mountaineers Books.Hike of the Week is presented by The Mountaineers Tacoma Branch Hiking/Backpacking Committee.