Groomed trail
Elevation Gain
250.00 ft (76.20 m)
4.80 mi (7.72 km)
Warming hut
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The ski to Gold Lake Shelter is great for beginning to intermediate skiers who are looking for a less crowded alternative to Bechtel Shelter to the south. There is a little more climbing, and the hills are steeper, but the solitude and views of Gold Lake make this trip worth it. The trail is on a snow-covered road that begins flat and then descends to Gold Lake in the last mile. Gold Lake Shelter is smaller than Bechtel Shelter, and it has a wood stove, a picnic table, and a small sleeping platform. Shelters like this depend on basic backcountry etiquette: if you decide to stay the night, remember that all visitors must be accommodated; please only use the wood you need to keep warm; and make sure you stick to the separate snowshoe and ski tracks. While you are there, be sure to take the short trip down to the lakeside viewpoint in the snow-covered campground. The view of Gold Lake's frozen expanse is well worth it.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Sno-Park Parking Permit (required in OR + WA 11.01 thru 04.30)


Less crowded than Bechtel Shelter. Great view of Gold Lake.


The climb is on the return.

Pets allowed


Trailhead Elevation

4,985.00 ft (1,519.43 m)


Big vistas
Old-growth forest
Warming hut

Trail type



Nearby Adventures


We stayed overnight on 1/27/18 and had a marvelous experience. Very grateful to the volunteers who stock the firewood! There was a splitting axe at the shelter, too. Once we got a fire going, we put kindling on the top of the woodstove to dry it out, because although it's out of the snow and not "wet," it's very green and difficult to make fire with. Please understand that I'm not looking at the gift-horse's teeth ... I'm just saying that you'll want LOTS of firestarter and if you can pay it forward to the next people by leaving them some dried-out kindling, that's nice.

The snow was 24" deep when we got there, but then it was warming up as we were leaving so no promises.

PS. My favorite firestarter is waxed-cardboard...the kind that they make grocery-store broccoli boxes out of. Normally it just takes me a piece the size of a poker card to get a fire lit, but with the green wood I used more than 8x11" of the stuff and I was glad I'd brought so much.
Looped in around the 2 Marilyn Lakes, stoped at the shelter, had lunch and, then took the road out. Had a great trip in with some new snowshoers. I always forget the road out seems uphill all the way.
Beautiful day, beautiful spot...but we ultimately opted out of sharing the sleeping platform with a family of mice who showed up late in the evening—instead we snowshoed out by moonlight and headed home.

Pit toilets were open and still had some TP. Plenty of wood, though much of it was wet. No pot for melting snow, but easy access to lake by boat ramp to filter water if needed. Snow was pretty low with a few bare patches on the road when we left.
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