Gem Lake + Wright Mountain Hike

Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Washington

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Gem Lake + Wright Mountain Hike

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  • Trail above Snow Lake.- Gem Lake + Wright Mountain Hike
  • Snow Lake from a high point on the north side of Gem Lake.- Gem Lake + Wright Mountain Hike
  • Gem Lake.- Gem Lake + Wright Mountain Hike
  • Wright Mountain from the Gem Lake outlet.- Gem Lake + Wright Mountain Hike
  • Overlooking Gem and Snow lakes from the summit of Wright Mountain.- Gem Lake + Wright Mountain Hike
  • Views from Wright Mountain are awesome!- Gem Lake + Wright Mountain Hike
  • A photo taken from an upper campsite that overlooks a lower campsite, perfect for groups!- Gem Lake + Wright Mountain Hike
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Multiple lakes. Options to extend your hike. Great views. Lots of parking at the trailhead.
Cons: 
Big crowds. Rocky trail.
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Region:
Alpine Lakes Wilderness, WA
Congestion: 
High
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
2,000.00 ft (609.60 m)
Parking Pass: 
NW Forest Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Suitable for: 
Hiking
Total Distance: 
10.00 mi (16.09 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
3,022.00 ft (921.11 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Contributor

This hike begins at the Snow Lake Trailhead in Snoqualmie Pass, which is justifiably the busiest trailhead in the area. But don't let that scare you away! The hikers who have the extra curiosity (and stamina) to venture a few miles past the gorgeous shores of Snow Lake will be rewarded with much smaller crowds and a beautiful, crystal-clear alpine lake surrounded by jagged peaks.

Following the trail to the Snow Lake Basin, continue circumnavigating the lake. A highlight of the trail is walking across an awesome log bridge high above the outlet of Snow Lake. Continue following signs for Gem Lake and soon you will begin switchbacking up the ridge and traversing a large talus slope. Arrive at the Gem Lake Basin and take it all in!

Great campsites are scattered throughout the small cliffs and meadows here. For more campsite privacy, traverse the lake counterclockwise and you will find a few more amazing sites on the east side of the lake and another great site or two on the north side of the lake.

On the east shore, a tall rocky mountain looms. If big views are what you're looking for, the scramble to Wright Mountain awaits. There is no official trail, but a defined bootpath leaves from near the campsites on the east side of the lake. Some mild boulder hopping will be required to reach the rocky summit for 360-degree views of the Cascades. There is also a smaller scramble along a ridge to a high point on the north side of the lake that has some pretty great views as well, if you aren't up the the elevation gain to Wright Mountain. If you are staying at Gem Lake, the sunset views from either spot are stunning.

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Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(19 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(120 within a 30 mile radius)

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