We decided to take work off on Monday, September 30, 2019, and did an 8.2-mile (out and back) hike to Rachel Lake in the Snoqualmie area, east of Washington. It is by far the best lake hike I have ever done in the PNW!
According to WTA, you’d need a Northwest Forest Pass for day hiking (Discover Pass will not be acceptable). I was not sure if our American the Beautiful covered us that day, but we did not get a ticket (perhaps it was ok or no one was up there checking on a Monday). There were a few backpackers, and I saw two tents up at the lake.
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. 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. Lots 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!
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. Of course, it’s not a fashion thing in case you’re wondering. I sprained my knee after a ski trip to Steven Pass in February. It’s very wet and muddy up there, hence I HIGHLY recommend wearing waterproof hiking boots with good ankle stability and long thick socks. You’d have to cross many mini waterfalls and step on muddy puddles countless of times. Also, bring food, snacks, and layers because it is a chilly long hike.
Maybe we got lucky with the weather: hiking at the right time of the year and right after the very first snowfall of the year. Even though it was a bit cloudy at the lake, we still got some great lake reflection and amazing fall and winter colors all in one. Scroll down to see because I have proof! 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.
OUTFIT: sweater: TRADLANDS in rust – gray color here | jacket: MARMOT | black sports bra: LULU LEMON | leggings: LULU LEMON | boots: KEEN in Brindle/Quiet Harbor | bucket hat: PATAGONIA men’s| bag: PATAGONIA | socks: DARN TOUGH
I have a series called Hike Washington on Style & Senses where I blog about cool hikes I’ve done. Lakes are typical ‘better rewards’ in my opinion, but my latest hike to Mt. Fremont Fire Lookout was amazing. I meant to blog about that hike but forgot, so it will have to be up after this one since I feel like you guys should do Rachel pretty soon before it gets too snowy.
READ MORE OF MY BLOG SERIES, ‘HIKE WASHINGTON’:
Colchuck Lake | Hidden Lake Lookout (my most fav. hike of 2018) | Chain Lakes Loop – Artist Point, Mt. Baker| Panorama Point – Skyline Trail, Paradise, Mt Rainier | Lake Serene | Goat Lake | Lake 22 | Rattlesnake Ledge
Photos by Toan Chu Photography