Location: Snoqualmie Pass- Washington
Trails: 8 miles up to the lake and back
Terrain: Dirt paths, streams
Highlights: Lake view, forest, flowers, waterfalls
While not technically in Oregon, or really even that close, Rachel Lake was such an amazing hike that I had to include it here. It is a four mile/1600′ elevation gain up to Rachel Lake, one of Washington’s many mountain lakes. The path winds through dark forests, open meadows, and will take you through streams and past beautiful waterfalls. As you near the summit, the views of the surrounding valley are unbeatable. While described by many as overcrowded, our group only ran across a few other hikers, and this was one Fourth of July weekend too.
Because the lake is at 4000’+ elevation, it is wise to only attempt this hike during the warmer months. In the beginning of July, there were still pockets of snow in a few shaded areas around the lake. Day temperatures were warm and it was sunny and pleasant, while night lows can drop to the 40s easily.
There are several available campsites around the lake. The ideal trip it to hike up with packs and spend the night, returning the following morning. Plan to arrive at the summit early in the day (noon or before) to secure a good campsite. The journey up will take 3-4 hours. Dress in layers as the sun sets early at the lake due to Rampart Ridge, an additional area to hike, that surrounds the lake. Be aware that fires are not allowed near the lake and bears are in the area, so standard precautions should be taken regarding to food in the campsite.
This is a beautiful area that is highly recommended! It is great for first time hike in campers or for a longer day trip!