Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
1,000.00 ft (304.80 m)
Trail type
7.00 mi (11.27 km)
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 Snow Lake Hiking Trail is one of the most popular trails in Washington's Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Peak summer traffic usually means lots of attention on the weekends, though the crowds thin significantly on weekdays. No matter when you have the chance to make the hike, however, you will be treated to an area of outstanding beauty. Surrounding peaks frame the Snow Lake Hiking Trail as it proceeds up the valley at the base of Snoqualmie Mountain. If you make the hike in the summer, wildflowers and huckleberries punctuate the alpine aesthetic.

Throughout, the heavily used trail is remarkably well maintained and carefully planned to minimize erosion. A set of wooden stairs in the first portion of the trail is a testament to this effort. After the first 2 miles, the trail enters a rockier zone as it switchbacks to the top of a ridge. Continuing past the junction to Source Lake, work your way up the steep switchbacks using the Snoqualmie Pass views for inspiration. Snow Lake comes into view as you crest the ridge, an enticing reward for the hike. Campsites and several picnic spots dot the lakeshore, so take some time to savor the panoramic views of Washington's Alpine Lake Wilderness from this picture-perfect lake.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

NW Forest Pass


Wildflowers. Old-growth forest. Viewpoints. Alpine lake.


Weekend crowds.

Trailhead Elevation

3,000.00 ft (914.40 m)


Backcountry camping
Bird watching
Big vistas
Old-growth forest


Nearby Lodging + Camping

Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Washington
Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Washington
Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Washington


Crowds.. but the lake was just so beautiful. We also checked out Source Lake overlook, very rocky but totally worth it.
Wish I had continued to Gem Lake!!
Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment?
Sign In and share them.