Area: Middle Fork Snoqualmie

Length: (4.9 +) 1.8

Elevation: 1800 +1680 -0

Condition: dense, brutal

Solitude: very high

Appeal: medium high

Features: the lake

Difficulty: extreme

Administered: North Bend RD

Trailhead: Taylor River

Connects to: Taylor River Trail

Guides: none

Maps: Green Trails Skykomish
USGS Skykomish



Dream Lake? More like Nightmare Lake. Maybe this shouldn't even be mentioned even here, even if this is an obscure places site. How desperate are you to get that far away from the already thinning crowds? You must navigate without the benefit of visible landmarks as you battle through towering creek-canyon brush, with a flowing creek filled with large boulders serving as your trail. You need sturdy mountaineering equipment, a good map, and expert-level off-trail navigation skills, since GPS is useless deep in the canyon. How much is a cold swim in a secluded lake worth to you? Fishermen: you will be extremely disappointed.



Follow the Taylor River Trail to the concrete Big Creek bridge at 4.9 miles.

Go approximately 100 feet further E along the trail, and and look for a plausible point of access uphill to the rounded east flank of Big Creek. If you can't see traces of a foot path here, that means you are normal and have no business trying this trip — change to the back-up plan now and head for the Snoqualmie Lake trail instead.

Initially, try to stay on route above the right bank of the creek, gaining about 700 feet in about 0.5 miles. The canopy begins to open a little, as the forest gives way to dense creek valley brush. Angle left and downward to the creek. The creek becomes your trail at this point. You will need to wait until August typically, so that the flow rates are low enough that you can see the tops of the moderate boulders. Mountaineering boots with good friction might keep you on the boulder tops, but also consider water tolerant friction boots.

After 0.2 miles in the creek boulders, look for a narrow and obscure fork; take the left. You might need to scramble up a bit to do this. Continue the wading and hopping another 0.3 miles. At this point you will begin to see a hopeless rock wall ahead. Your lack of hope is well founded. The creek bank will start to steepen and grow on the right side. About 200 yards from the wall you will need to look for a thin spot in the vegetation where it seems plausible that you can scramble up the bank and away from the creek. If you find this, you are on track, otherwise you are in deep trouble.

The rest of the way, you may or may not find the track through head-high berry brush. Keep high as you parallel the creek and bypass the rock cliffs in the gorge below. Toward the last, you can start to see signs of a hollow where the lake must surely be, over the tops of the head-high berry brush. Weave through the brush on a modest grade and you are there. There is a relatively flat area with a campsite and lake access by a log jam.