Snoqualmie Pass: Overnight Backpacking Destinations in Washington’s Snoqualmie Pass
Snoqualmie Falls is one of Washington’s most famous waterfalls. When the river is flowing, the waterfall reaches almost 270 feet in height and a width of up to 150 feet.
The hike to the falls is easygoing. The upper falls provide a shelter. But you can still go to the bottom of the falls. Since there is parking at the base of the waterfall, many visitors can take that path. But you should hike down instead.
Take the nature trail down to the river, which is near the observation platform. It has a sign pointing you in the right direction to get to the foundation. When you descend the path through old trees to the waterfall base, the trail adds some scenery to the falls.
Snow Lake is a short drive from the Seattle area (1-hour drive via I-90). This adventure provides access to a variety of wildlife. It also offers other fun-zones such as Source Lake Overlook.
The Snow Lake trailhead is easy to find. It’s at the far end of the Alpental Ski Area parking lot, about an hour east of Seattle. There is plenty of parking, particularly before the start of the ski season. During the regular season, the same idea applies to non-peak ski days.
There are several small waterfalls and viewpoints along the trail. When you arrive, you may notice that the Lake is completely breathtaking. Your jaw will drop as you approach the basin’s rim. The ruins of an old cabin are the first thing you see as you arrive at the lake’s shores.
The lake is surrounded by beauty, and Roosevelt Peak stands on the opposite end. The trail does not end on the far side of the lake. Instead, it comes to a fork that leads deeper into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.
The Annette Lake trail is a short distance down I-90. Just off exit 47 (before Snoqualmie Pass), and it shares a parking lot with the Asahel Curtis Nature Trail.
A stunning waterfall and bridge spanning Humpback Creek greet you at the start of the hike, giving you a preview of what’s to come.
It’s a difficult hike with beautiful scenery and a fantastic payoff.
Following the waterfall, you’ll quickly pass across a couple of fields. It was to accommodate the power lines that run through them.
After going through those, you’ll be in a stunning forest with huge cedars and Douglas firs. To add beauty, you’ll see streams that trickle through every now and then.
Glimpse from the forest of the mountainside to the west will make you feel like you’re in the backcountry.
The journey is breathtaking, but the destination is mesmerizing. Annette Lake is surrounded by trees and has a beautiful view of the peaks on either side.
The Kendall Katwalk, a 4-foot-wide route driven into the side of a Cascadian mountain. This trail is not for the faint of heart.
The payoff, though, for this hike is an exciting view from the notorious Kendall Katwalk. A trail blasted out of the side of a mountain.
The trail begins in a thick forest near the Alpental ski area and continues for several miles. At around 3 miles yet, you pass through an avalanche swath. And traverse more open forest with less underbrush, revealing a distinctive Cascadian woodscape.
Finally, the path reaches a rugged sloped field and opens up to breathtaking valley views. Mount Rainier rises above the southern ridgeline. And Red Mountain, bold, dazzling, and vermilion, greets you.
And after that, you’ll be in the total alpine wilderness. You can turn around at this stage, but if you have the energy, keep going for more views and a boulder scramble.
Tips for Safe and Happy Solo Backpacking
Pack the Essentials.
Going solo is a proud thing to do. But it always pays to be prepared.
- Map + Compass
- Sun Protection
- Warm Clothing
- Headlamp or Flashlight
- Emergency Shelters like a tarp or reflective blanket
- First Aid Kit
- Hydration Supplies
- Fire Starting Supplies
- Repair Tools
Research, Research, Research.
Before you go on any backpacking trip and you’re going solo, make sure you know what your trail entails.
Inform your friends and family to know where you are going.
If you do this and do not return as anticipated, your friend will receive an alert. Which ensures that if you need help, it will be sent sooner.
Check the Weather.
It’s always a good idea to review the weather forecast before going out. Even if the weather appears to be clear, you should bring layers if the weather changes suddenly.
Know About the Local Wildlife.
When hiking alone, it’s important to be mindful of local wildlife and know how to respond in the event of an encounter.
Stay on the Trail.
Always have a trail map with you and stay on the trail. When retracing your steps, keep an eye out for trail markers. Take photos of any trail junctions to help you remember the way you came from.
If you ever find yourself on Washington’s west side, make a point of visiting Snoqualmie Pass. It is truly a hiker’s paradise, with beautiful hikes perfect for all ages and skill levels. Don’t forget to follow the tips we mentioned above.
Rikki Louise Cereno
I’m a paradox in the world of writing. I love writing but I hate literature. And oh, I like to publish my own book someday, but I haven’t formulated the plot yet.