2016’s First Hike: Skyline Lake

2016’s First Hike: Skyline Lake

By: Shelby January 3, 2016 9:27 pm 1 comment

Happy 2016! Though we’ve been to Skyline Lake before, we wanted a nice familiar hike to take our new snowshoes out on our last day of holiday vacation. We both got the MSR Lightning Ascent snowshoes for Christmas (thanks, Dad!!), so I’m determined to go snowshoeing more than once a year now. Our original plan was Gold Creek Pond, but the trail became totally packed down in the week since the last snow, rendering snowshoes pointless out there. So, we set off this morning from home with mugs full of hot wine and a song in our hearts (or something).

MSR Lightning Snowshoes

We got to the parking lot right at noon, and the wind was howling like crazy and blowing snow over the cars. We were a little nervous about hiking up in these rough conditions and were ready to bail if it got too bad, but the wind and snow died down as soon as we got into the trees. Then the weather was actually pretty pleasant! It was around 22 degrees, but the hill is so steep and sudden that it’s impossible to not break a sweat going up. The trail gains 1000 feet in just over a mile.

We love our new snowshoes

We love our new snowshoes

the clouds parted for just a few minutes

the clouds parted for just a few minutes

The clouds parted ever so slightly to show some blue sky for a few brief minutes, and then the clouds rolled back across the sky. It was a little rough hiking up the exposed hillside while the wind was whipping up, but it never got too bad. We ran into maybe 7 or 8 other groups coming down as we were headed up.

Looking back down the trail across Highway 2

Looking back down the trail across Highway 2

We turned off the main trail slightly too early and got a little turned around in the deep powder, following tracks around, but eventually made it to the snow-covered lake just as the snow was starting to fall fairly heavily. We ducked out of the wind behind a tree to drink our mulled wine, which was still warm thanks to the amazing Contigo mugs, and then headed back down. Mulled wine is basically my favorite thing right now.

Skyline Lake

Skyline Lake

Amazing Contigo travel mug

Amazing Contigo travel mug

Spenser resting at the lake

Spenser resting at the lake

The trail back into the forest from the lake

The trail back into the forest from the lake

Spenser Frostbeard

Spenser Frostbeard

It got super windy as we were heading back down the hill and powder was whipping up off the trail. I forgot my goggles so I was just wearing sunglasses, which was pretty uncomfortable. I need new goggles anyway. Maybe now I’ll actually get some new ones. The snowshoes, however, were fantastic. They’re so incredibly lightweight, and the televators make going uphill a total breeze, whereas the rentals we had used before felt so clunky and heavy.

The snow had already covered most of the tracks that we had made on the way up. We got back to the car at almost exactly 2:30, and the wind was still howling in the parking lot. I’m glad we didn’t give up based on the parking lot conditions!

the ski resort

the ski resort

selfie

Yoga is hard to do in snowshoes

Yoga is hard to do in snowshoes

Walking back down

Walking back down

This was obviously our first hike of 2016. We’re shooting for at least 15 this year, but I think we can do better than that!

No parking pass required.

Total mileage: 3.0
Total elevation gain: 1100 feet
Time hiking: 2.5 hours


Driving directions: From Seattle, take Highway 2 towards Leavenworth. At Stevens Pass, park on the north side of the highway at the north lot, across from the lodge. The trail starts up past the cabins at the west side of the lot.

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