Pratt Lake

Pratt Lake

Elev. Gain: 
2,350 ft.
High: 
4,200 ft.
Where:
North Bend, WA
Distance: 
12.00 miles (round trip)
Difficulty: 
Moderate
Rating: 
3
Beautiful lake, but limited shoreline access and monotonous trail for first four miles
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Features

Overview

If you're looking for a longer day-hike or solid trail run with a worthwhile payoff, but don't want a huge elevation gain, Pratt Lake is a winner.

At twelve miles roundtrip, we can see why it might be considered a bit out of range (especially for beginners) as a day hike, but we think it's far easier to get to Pratt Lake than the much steeper and shorter hike to Granite Mountain with which it shares the same trailhead.

The trail begins along a busy path that leads to a dozen different locations, the most popular of which is Granite Mountain. At 1.1 miles of gentle elevation gain, you'll reach the signed junction where most of the foot traffic will go right and begin the steep climb to the lookout on Granite Mountain. That's not for you. Continue on straight towards Pratt Lake.

Cross over several small creeks, and at 2.7 miles, enjoy a quarter-mile section of raised boardwalks over marshy wetland. Just beyond, you'll enter the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area – be sure to give a big thanks to the good people who put this land aside for you to enjoy sans engines and hand gliders.

At 3.1 miles, come to another signed junction, this time for a trail that leads to Talapus and Olallie Lakes. Continue straight ahead once again, and at 4.0 miles (elev. 4,200') the view opens up dramatically at the base of a talus field for a look south down at Olallie Lake. Nice.

A quarter-mile further, you'll reach yet another signed junction. Head right and begin your descent down into Pratt Basin (left goes to Mt. Defiance). This is where the trail becomes much more interesting. Hike through talus fields, lush vegetation, and expansive vistas as you lose over 600 feet of elevation, and at 5.8 miles, get your first unobstructed view of Pratt Lake.

Continue up high along the east side of the lake before finally dropping down to water-level at the north end of Pratt Lake. This is a great place to find an empty rock along the shoreline and enjoy lunch and the views.

Permits & Tips

Northwest Forest Pass required. Dogs must be on a leash. Toilet available at trailhead, but no water. Camping is allowed in designated sites, and there is a pit toilet at the north end of the lake (but no toilet paper). This is a popular area, so be sure to stick to the trails and practice minimal impact hiking and camping. No fires.

>>Google Directions

How to get there

Head east on I-90 to exit 47.
Turn left (north) at the end of the off-ramp and drive back over the freeway 0.1 miles to a T in the road.
Turn left at the T (clearly signed) towards the Pratt Lake/Granite Mountain Trailhead.
Parking lot is 0.3 miles further. Additional parking is found along the side of the road as needed.