Left early to beat the heat and the crowds. Started hiking by 8:00AM and it...
Lake Twenty-Two (22)
Lake Twenty-Two (22)
Barely one-third of a mile across and only 50 feet deep, Lake Twenty-two itself isn't the reason you just laced up your shoes and hiked uphill for an hour. Nope, trust us, it's the gigantic old growth cedar trees, the never-ending waterfalls, and the dramatic alpine cirque that makes it all worthwhile. Sure, the lake is nice, but when you put it in its current setting, you've got magic.
That's a fluffy introduction for a somewhat fluffy hike. We love it, but there's a ton of man-made features on this trail to reduce the impact of thousands of people making the trek every year, the effect of which diminishes the hike to a bit more of a nature walk at times. That said, do check it out.
You'll start barely one hundred yards from the Mountain Loop Highway and climb gently through impressive old growth forest (protected since 1947 as a Research Natural Area). At 0.5 mile, cross Twenty-two Creek on a sturdy bridge and continue for another mile up through the ancient cedars and hemlocks to the talus field at 1.5 miles. Enjoy the views from the talus looking back down at the Stillaguamish River.
From here the trail rejoins Twenty-two Creek up to the lake at 2.35 miles. The lake itself is dwarfed by Mount Pilchuck towering above, and you'll likely see and hear both waterfalls and rockfalls while at the lake. There's a nice mile long loop around the lake for those with a bit more energy and adventuresome spirit. Take it all in and head back down – although it's awesome, you can't stay overnight.
Permits & Tips
Northwest Forest Pass required. Bathrooms available at trailhead (flush toilets are also available at Verlot Station). No drinking water. No camping allowed. Make good choices around the lake. Consider doing this hike in the shoulder seasons – less traffic and more raw.
How to get there
Head North on I-5 to Exit 194 and merge onto US-2 E.
After two miles, exit left onto WA-204.
Stay on WA-204 for two miles to Highway 9. Take the left onto Highway 9 toward Lake Stevens.
Turn right onto WA-92 to Granite Falls.
In Granite Falls, turn left onto N Alder Ave and continue onto the Mountain Loop Highway.
You'll hit the Verlot Public Service Center (get your maps and passes) in 11 miles, and the trailhead is two miles further on the right side of the road. Parking lot is clearly signed from the highway.