Just over an hour northeast of Seattle, the Lake Twentytwo Trail offers a much needed respite from urban life, without the drive. On the shoulder of Mount Pilchuck, its gorgeous old growth forest, alpine wetlands and well-maintained stairs and boardwalks make it easily accessible, while retaining the natural beauty of the area. There's a good reason Lake Twentytwo is so well-known, so pack a lunch and claim your spot on the lakeshore! At the top, treat yourself to a fantastic plunge from one of the various rocks jutting into the water, or play along the shallow edges.
This trail goes by Gold Basin Pond.
The drive to the trailhead is pretty straightforward, just past the town of Granite Falls and Verlot, and the turn to the trailhead parking lot is well marked. Because of the popularity of this trail, parking can be difficult on summer weekends.
The trailhead starts just across from the restrooms (two pit-toilets), on the far end of the parking lot. The trail follows just above the road for a short ways, slowly ascending the mountainside before taking a sharp turn into the forest and out of earshot of passing cars. It climbs through western and mountain hemlock, alder and giant cedar trees on an incredibly well maintained trail with perfectly hewn stairs.
At 1.5 miles, the trail leaves the trees and climbs through a talus field, which can be a sweaty climb on hot days, and difficult on ankles. The trail then re-enters the forest shade and eventually onto a bridge at a t-junction, with stellar views of the lake. Follow the path either right or left to make a circuit around the lake, or lounge on the shores for a well-earned break. It's common to see snow on the further side of the lake, well into the summer.
Lake Twentytwo is day-use only, with no established campsites.
Make sure to display your Northwest Forest Pass in the parking lot.
Due to the many well-maintained stairs and boardwalks, Lake Twentytwo is a very popular hike with families. Though not necessarily an “easy” hike, you'll see children of all ages on the trail.
Two friends and I just hiked Lake Twentytwo for the first time since I was a child. My mom has quoted my 6 year old self exclaiming how beautiful the hike was many times over the last 20-something years, so my expectations were set pretty high! At the top, I wasn't disappointed, though I was surprised my child-self was able to make it up those rocky sections so many years ago. I did this hike because 1) I love alpine lakes 2) I had my little puppy in tow, so didn't want anything too difficult for her and 3) I didn't want to drive too far. At the top, we were pleasantly surprised with how few mosquitos there were (I forgot bug spray), and had a fantastic swim that wasn't as cold as I was anticipating. We had a nice rock to jump into the water all to ourselves. And for such a popular hike (and a pretty full parking lot for a Friday afternoon), I was also surprised that the lakeshore wasn't more crowded. Too bad there's no camping up there, but glad they're able to protect such a gorgeous lake! ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Trail was wet and a little slick in places. Some water running over the trail, but nothing that a pair of waterproof trail shoes couldn't handle. Trailhead was not too crowded when we arrived at 8am, but it was raining so I expect on a nice day it fills up a lot faster. By the time we got back down at noon, the lot and driveway was packed to the gills. Lots of dogs on the trail but everyone seemed to be cleaning up after themselves, as there were no "special presents" left behind to be seen.