|Difficulty – 7/10||Scenic – 10/10||Length – 5.5mi|
Living in the beautiful Pacific Northwest gives us access to a lot of serene picturesque locales not found elsewhere. Its weekend again and we set out on our Saturday hiking trip. This time we headed out to Lake 22 on Mountain Loop Hwy.
Full of old growth trees and with more than half a dozen water falls, this is a must do trail for all enthusiasts. Although rated as easy to moderate, we found that this trail was more of moderate to difficult with all the rocks and steep gradient along the trail. The trail is 5.5 mile roundtrip with no access to bikes or wheelchairs. Pets are expected to be on leash and we were glad to see most of the hikers follow these rules.
Hikers are expected to register at the trailhead incase of an emergency or if they get lost which as I understood can happen a lot. The easy to explore wilderness tends to lure people into taking shortcuts which combined with foggy conditions can make them lose track of the trail paths. The trail starts off in parallel to the Mountain Loop Hwy and you can hear the vehicles passing by. Soon the trail veers off in to thick growths and rocky trails. There are a lot of smaller water falls and streams all along the trail that keep the hikers excited.
Some wild flowers and plants along the trail.
The first mile is easier after which the trail becomes very rocky. This is the most difficult part of the trail but if you endure this, you are in for a treat. The last half mile is really easy but muddy for most of it. A bright clear day would give ample opportunities for nice pictures. Once you get to the lake, there are no simple words to explain the beauty of Lake 22. BTW, who would give such a dull name to this lake? A nice wooden walkway runs all along the perimeter of the lake that you can walk on. Lake 22 is rated 10 of 10 for scenic beauty.
To get to Lake 22 trailhead, go 11 miles East on Mountain Loop Hwy till you reach the Verlot Park Ranger station. Keep going for another 2 miles, past the Mount Philchuck road to get to the Lake 22 trailhead which comes on the right.
For full trail information, contact the Verlot Public Service Center, 33515 Mountain Loop Hwy or the Darrington Ranger District.
Here’s a quick look of the location on bing maps.