The Snow Lake Trail is another extremely popular hike. It is a good length, excessively beautiful, and accessible from the city. The trail in its full length is about 7 miles roundtrip. You can even tack on another 1.5 miles to Gem Lake, and another 2.5 miles beyond that to the High Lakes area.
Even if you can’t make the full length to any of the lakes, this trail is still worth hiking as far as you can.
Take exit 52 from I-90 East, should say “West Summit”. Turn left and then turn right after the Pacific Crest Trail. Continue to the end of the road and park in the Alpental parking lot.
This parking lot gets packed on the weekend. I came at about 6:30 on Friday evening and there were plenty of spots available.
Across from the parking lot is the Snow Lake Trailhead. It is a simple out-and-back trail. The rangers update information often, so please check out the reader board for any updates on trail conditions or issues.
The trail is in fairly good condition. There are a couple wet squishy patches, creek crossings, and lots of rocks and roots. So, proper footwear is recommended and keep a keen eye on the trail.
I used my Oboz hiking shoes, however I would have rather worn my Vasque hiking boots. Because of all the rocks, roots, etc, some ankle protection would have been helpful. I also used my Montem poles.
For this hike I planned to up my mileage to about three miles total, and thus I hiked about 1.5 miles and turned around.
I came at probably the best time of year. There were so many flowers blooming! It even smelled like flowers everywhere!
It was almost sensory overload on this hike as there were so many flowers, but also a good handful of waterfalls to see as well as their respective creeks.
I also crossed several talus fields. They were quite vast and breathtaking.
This is a great easy hike (at least during the first 1.5 miles of the trail). This is an especially busy hike , I have heard, though I went on a Friday evening. Stick to the weekdays, especially evenings, if that is a bother to you. There is a large portion of this hike on rocks and other more difficult ground, I’d definitely recommend hiking boots with some ankle protection and hiking poles.