Rachel Lake

Trail No. 1313


OCTOBER 14, 2006 – A solo hike at the height of the fall color season.  The tops of the towers in downtown Seattle were shrouded in fog when I left home this morning, but east of Snoqualmie Pass the sun was shinning.  The road from I-90 to the trailhead was lined with brilliant red and yellow trees, and I made a short stop along the way to admire a small waterfall.  When I left the trailhead, it was 39 º and a hazy, partly cloudy day.  This trail starts off on an easy grade along Box Canyon Creek and passes through deep forest punctuated by clearings before it reaches a waterfall where the grade abruptly becomes very steep.  This late in the season, the waterfalls were greatly diminished and the streams crossing the trail were either very shallow or dried up altogether.    The guide book describes the last mile of the hike to Rachel Lake as “gaining 1300’ in a cruel mile."  It is very steep, rocky, and snarled with tree roots, but perhaps because the views were stunning, it did not quite live up to its reputation as the mile from hell.  Rachel Lake is sapphire blue, and a delightful place to stop for a well-earned lunch stop.   The wind picked up and the sky clouded over before I left the lake, reminding me how quickly the weather can change in the mountains. 

 7.6 miles roundtrip

 1900’ elevation gain