Area: Middle Fork Snoqualmie

Length: (7.4 +) 6.9 (to Gap)

Elevation: 2790 + 2460 - 250

Condition: moderate with rough spots

Solitude: very high

Appeal: medium high

Features: history, falls

Difficulty: severe

Administered: North Bend RD

Trailhead: Dingford TH

Connects to:
Dutch Miller trail

Guides: (none)

Maps: Green Trails Skykomish, Green Trails Stevens Pass



Well, for once we can be sure that this trail is not endangered, since there was never any trail. However, Crawford Lake is such a remarkable place, the best possible way to keep it secret is to hide its existence in the pages of the RidgeRat site.

Imagine: a high cold-water lake with crystal blue water, with a delightful erratic shoreline, meadows, tarns, views to the highest of the Snoqualmie peaks. Even a private swimming pool. Oh, and maybe I should mention, when the fall colors arrive, it is one of the most gorgeous places on earth.

Stay away unless you are highly motivated, properly equipped for mountaineering scrambling, trained in the principles of leave-no-trace wilderness travel, and on the edge of crazy.


Review the Dutch Miller trail page.

Go to the Dutch Miller trail and follow it 2.8 miles to the crossing of Crawford Creek. It is possible to simply follow this creek up the hill, but that would be much more difficult than necessary. Instead, continue ahead an additional 0.2 miles, where you will see the grade on the left side begin to steepen. Find a good place to leave the trail here, and set a pace to curl back to your left, slanting upward and across the slope. Continuing this strategy, you will find that you attain a position straight west of a prominent lump; pick an optimal route to zig and zag your way to the top of this.

Cross straight over that lump and continue on to a small saddle. A tiny pond, with water and frogs year-round, is located there, a bit of surprise, but a good landmark. Pass this, and continue following the rib up to the northeast. You are likely to find portions of a foot-path here. Follow this in a predictable leftward curl along the highest and easiest path until it brings you to a gentle saddle with a small lump on the left hand side and a steep slope on the right. The temptation will be to cross this meadow and take the easy-looking slope on the far side; don't do it. That would leave you in steep rock on the wrong side of the creek. Instead, go square right up that steep slope, staying to the right of the creek canyon. This will bring you back to a northerly direction, as you climb parallel to the creek canyon.

Have ice axe ready here, and be prepared to arrest. The steep but tolerable slopes give way to crazy steep slopes smoothly carpeted with a thick blanket of pine needles at their angle of repose. Go slow, judging each step carefully, in balance, thankful that you need to gain only 500 feet of elevation under these conditions. (Believe it or not, it is actually easier going up; the drops for each footstep downward tend to initiate slides and falls. Been there done that, more than once. But kind of fun with a quick arrest. The ground is so smooth that damage is unlikely.)

As you approach the top, you can begin to see boulders filling the outlet notch to the left. Stay the course, higher and on the right, and you should encounter a faint foot path. This will take you just above the south bay of the lake, and over a small rise to a supremely pleasant meadow camp on the southeast shore of the lake.