I got the “ok to hike” from the doctor. I was itching to hit the trail after being sidelined on the couch with pneumonia for almost three weeks. I decided to check Lake Twentytwo off of my bucket list so my hubby and I packed up the dogs and headed out.
The Lake Twentytwo trailhead is only about a mile away from the Heather Lake trail, which was Gretel’s very first hike. That was the hike that inspired me to start this blog…and the rest is history. There was kind of a return to the beginning feel for us.
Some trails around here can get pretty crowded on the weekends, especially when the trail is relatively easy, the scenery is amazing, and the sun is out. This was no exception.
Several hundred feet of cars lined the highway near the parking lot. It was afternoon though so we took a chance and were able to find a parking spot in the main lot.
We must have passed almost 100 people on the way up. Having to stop for people coming down, stopping for people wanting to pass us, and stopping to wait until there weren’t strangers in our photos of nature made the hike up kind of slow going. I didn’t mind though because I wanted to take it easy on my mucked up lungs. I was feeling a little out of shape to say the least.
There was quite the crowd when we arrived at the lake
We must have passed almost 40 dogs too. The unique thing about the dogs on this hike is that the majority of them were medium-sized or smaller. I have never seen so many small dogs hiking a trail before. It was great!
On the way up, a few people coming down mentioned that they saw two more Dachshunds ahead. When we got to the lake was saw them and stopped to chat. The woman recognized Gretel. It turns out that they are members of our Adventureweiner Club. I don’t think we’ve ever randomly ran into someone from our club on the trail so it was fun.
We hung out and ate our lunch. We were getting a tired and feeling a little lazy so we almost headed back down without walking the trail around the lake. Yay for not being lazy! It was amazing. Even though the trail on the way up was pretty, the loop around the lake was the highlight of the trip. There were less people on the loop so we we were able to escape the crowds a little by doing that too.
I will say that this hike made me a little angry though. There was more trash on this trail than I have ever seen on any trail around here. We picked up two plastic water bottles, 4 clearly abandoned dog poop bags, and a candy wrapper. We saw at least 10 more pieces of trash but they were tossed too far off of the trail to safely retrieve. I also saw a lot of people cutting switchbacks and causing slope erosion. It took a lot of mental fortitude to keep my blood from boiling. Note to self for next time: go on a weekday when there are less people and less potential to see people disrespecting the environment and bring a trash bag.
The hike to the lake combines the best of mountain rainforests, old-growth, wetlands, and mountain views. Every minute of the trail up to the lake is pretty and offers interesting things to look at. The final destination is a pretty little lake nestled at the base of a looming mountain – Mount Pilchuck.
A lot of trails here, especially the shorter ones, wind through second growth trees – areas that were logged once so the trees are smaller in diameter and on the young side. This trail has some large, old growth trees though. I saw a few notches in stumps that indicated it was logged by hand many, many years ago but they must have left some of the big ones to grow old.
There is always water on the trail here, and there are several significant stream crossings, so plan on wearing the proper footwear and synthetic or wool socks (because they wick moisture away from your feet and wet cotton socks can feel like sandpaper and cause blisters). Also, The trail was a little rockier than I anticipated so I was wishing I had worn my hiking boots instead of trail runners. My ankle started to get a little sore from the uneven surface.
There is a privy (bathroom) in the parking area and a bear-proof trash can.
Trail Name: Lake Twentytwo – Lake 22
Distance: 5.4 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 1,350 feet
Highest Point: 2,400 feet
Permits and Passes: A Northwest Forest Pass is required to park at the trailhead
Directions: Take Hwy 92 to Granite Falls, where it ends and becomes E Stanley Street. Go east 0.3 miles, then turn left (north) onto N Alder Avenue, which turns into the Mountain Loop Highway. 10.6 miles later, enter the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. 2.1 miles past the entrance to the Forest, pass over Twentytwo Creek, and 0.4 miles farther, turn right at the entry for the Lake Twentytwo trailhead. The parking area is located around a gravel loop and holds nearly 50 cars.