Sunday, August 26, 2012

Cottonwood, Mirror and Twilight Lakes

I'm so far behind on my hiking posts! GAH! I'm just not inspired to write them, but I'm gonna make myself do it!

So exactly a month ago, I went with a great group of gals to Mirror Lake with a stop at Cottonwood Lake. The skies were cloudy when we started in North Bend, but by the time we got over the pass, it was sunny! Unfortunately, the trail head was back in the clouds, but it was nice and cool. Perfect hiking weather!

Cottonwood Lake

Cottonwood Lake

The trail head starts back behind the Snoqualmie Pass ski area, off a Forest Service road. The hike to Cottonwood is not very difficult, but there are plenty of ups and downs and stream crossings. Cottonwood Lake is very pretty, but very marshy. We didn't stay long because of all the bugs, but I found my first patch of snow! YAY!

Mirror Lake

We soon continued up the hill to Mirror Lake, which is one of the prettiest lakes I've ever seen.  The hike up from Cottonwood is challenging, but it's short. Once we got to the top, we had to walk over some snow and route find a little, but we got to the edge of the lake without any trouble.

We followed the PCT along the edge of Mirror Lake to the popular campsite at the shore. There were a few guys camping there, so we asked if we could take a few pictures, then be on our way. They warned us to not step in the snow because that's where they were keeping their catch, a beautiful Rainbow trout!

I showed the gals the way to a nice ledge along the trail where we stopped for lunch. The creek from Mirror Lake was really flowing! I had been on the trail before, but the creek wasn't running as high. Tina quickly finished her lunch and then went exploring. Crystal and I joined her and she showed us a pretty waterfall she had found.

View from our lunch spot


After lunch, the gals wanted a little more of a walk, so we continued about another mile to Twilight Lake. There was a little campsite in the middle of the lake, but most of it was marshy grass land, so we walked across to see what the lake looked like. With the fog and clouds hanging so low, the lake looked so pretty!

Ollie the dog had a great time running around the lake and we had lots of fun watching!

After we had rested, we hiked back up to Mirror Lake, then back to Cottonwood, and finally back to the cars. Tina had suggested a beer afterwards, so we stopped at Webb's Restaurant on Snoqualmie Pass for food and drinks. Our waitress was hilarious and we chatted with her for a while, then headed home.

I would have to say Mirror Lake is one of my favorite hikes to do since it's short and beautiful! Along with Sheep Lake, it's one of the few hikes I make a point of doing every year.

Total time: 4 hours 
Distance: 5 miles, 800 ft elevation gain
 Passes: NW Forest Pass required
Location: off exit 54 on I-90, GPS: N 47 20.645, W 121 25.477

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