Area: Middle Fork Snoqualmie

Length: (6.2 +) 0.6

Elevation: 4400 + 250 - 50

Condition: good

Solitude: high

Appeal: medium high

Features: mercifully short

Difficulty: easy

Administered: North Bend RD

Trailhead: Dingford TH

Connects to:
Dutch Miller Trail
Upper Tank Lake
Chain Lakes

Guides: 100Alp, JSbpa

Maps: Green Trails Skykomish, Green Trails Stevens Pass


 

Overview

 

 

This is a popular final destination for those on the Dutch Miller trail — a little less ambitious than continuing to the Gap, or a little more ambitious depending on how much else you dare to try.

 


 

Details

Follow the Dutch Miller Gap trail until you reach the Williams Lake cutoff trail at 6.2 miles from the camp/trailhead. The short trail begins at a moderate grade, crosses a minor tributary creek and meadows, soon dropping to the lake shoreline at 0.6 miles.

(Reported mileages vary a lot, depending on what else is included. Historically, the trail was considered to extend all the way to the north end of the lake, though the latter parts of the trail are now gone. The most popular camps are on the left after crossing the outlet creek.)

You can easily visit the prominent rocky lump joined by a narrow isthmus at the southeast shore. The camp near the isthmus is fragile, dirty, and not recommended since a main shore access trail goes straight through. I have seen people leap into the lake from the rocks; I recommend not testing the water temperature before you try this.

Another option for a single small tent is to proceed around the lake in either direction until you reach the interleaving cold fingers of the inlet creek flowing down from cliffs to the north. Stay back as far from the lake as necessary to remain on firm ground. If you do this, just on the west side of the main channel, such as it is, you will find a relatively smooth flat spot — once a mining cabin site.

Directly accessible from the shoreline trail that weaves through stones and brush on the east side of the lake, there is an adit from a speculative and typically unsuccessful mine. There is likely to be rusting broken metal in the acidic water inside, so be sensible about entering. Why ruin your boots? Look back across the lake to Little Summit Chief mountain from the top of the small spoils heap.

For those who want serious entertainment, and are willing to work for it, there are two scrambling options.

  1. Follow an obscure route up the steep slopes to the east that leads to the enchanting Chain Lakes basin, or beyond to the cold and cruel LaBohn Lakes.

  2. Follow a ribbon of large but stable granite boulders to ascend with unexpected efficiency to the Upper Tank Lake area.