Each state in the PNW has it’s very special places to explore and although I did consider Oregon to be my favorite, there are things Washington has that Oregon doesn’t and vice versa. The windy, moody beaches and … the many lakes in the center of mountain tops, such as the Alpine Lakes along the Snoqualmie pass.
There are many hikes in this area, but today we are going to talk about Snow Lake and Mason Lake. You do not have to travel to Alberta, Canada to see Insta famous prestine blue lake waters amonst snow filled mountains. You can find them right here in Washington, as well many other locations in Washington state.
The first time I went to hike Snow Lake, it was closed off due to snowfall (isn’t that ironic). So instead, we ventured over to Mason Lake, I say this because if you plan to hike Snow Lake, I would say the end of Octobor may be the last time before the snow hits and it closes for the winter until the snow melts, as it can be a treturous trail.
MASON LAKE, WA FACTS
Dog friendly – Yes
Distance – 6.5 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain – 2420 ft.
Mason Lake, also called the Ira Spring Trail, is right off I-90 on Snoqualmie pass. It is a 6.5 round trip hike with an impressive 2420 ft. elevation gain, highest point being 4320 ft. This trail is dog friendly and leads to the beautiful Mason Lake, which is not nearly as large as snow lake, but still beautiful and easy to find yourself a little nook that you can have lunch before heading back down.
It was full of grey jays when we went that LOVED our granola and ate it right out of our hands, which was one of my favorite parts of this hike, honestly. Of course, this lake is crystal clear and prestine, well worth the hike. Even our chihuahua, almost made it all the way up on his own!
SNOW LAKE, WA FACTS
Dog Friendly – Yes
Distance – 7 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain 1800ft
We did make our way to Snow Lake later that year and it was well worth the wait. This hike is a little further, about 7 miles roundtrip with an elevation gain of 1800 ft., yet the highest point was about 4400 ft. You will take the West Summit exit, at the top of Snoqualmie, this hike takes you high into the mountain.
The hike starts off very steep but goes away quickly and stays pretty moderate the rest of the way, making it not very difficult, although much of it is on slick granite stone and can be challenging to not twist your ankle… not sure if I’d recommend it for kids. It is also dog friendly and our dog loved seeing snow, which wasn’t anywhere else on Snoqualmie but we started to see some half way through the hike.
If you go when the snow is melting, which we did, you will be hiking along water most of the way which is quite beautiful. You also will hike across a few small waterfalls, really making you feel connected to nature.
When you reach the top, you can see the lake from above, then you can hike all the way down to the lake itself, crossing some meadows and other small waterfalls. The views are incredible, you are in this bowl of snow covered mountains and crystal clear waters. When we went it was overcast and lovely, but I’m sure if you go with the sun out that the water shows it’s blue beauty.
We brought a fly rod because there are rainbow trout in this lake, but if you want to fish here, be sure to bring waders, as you would have to wade about 20 feet to throw a good cast.
I highly recommend this hike before the winter or beginning of spring, so you can see some of the beautiful snow top mountains reflecting on the water. You will not be disappointed.