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Kachess Lake

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This trail proves that not all hikes have to be epic outings to be enjoyable. Though short, this loop is a great learning adventure for folks of all ages. Preteen kids will especially love exploring its watery world of lakes and creeks, as well as diving deep into century-old forests.


The hard-packed trail is open and accessible for all users, including folks in wheelchairs, making it perfect for anyone. Toddlers can bobble along, as can those who want a nature adventure but can't walk far. The grade is gentle and the trail well maintained.

The trail loops over the pretty little Box Canyon Creek--stop on the bridge and peer down, trying to spot the small trout that dart through the clear waters in pursuit of aquatic insects. Once over the creek the trail climbs gently to a bench above the lake that provides views down on the creek and along the lakeshore.

The return portion of the loop rolls over a slab of moss-covered rock as big as a parking lot--note the many tall trees growing from this seemingly solid surface. Kids will marvel at the work of seeds and roots in forcing the rock open to allow the trees to grow.
Driving Directions:

From Seattle drive east on I-90 and take exit 62 (signed "Kachess Lake"). Turn left from the exit ramp and drive northeast on Lake Kachess Road (Forest Road 49) for 5 miles to a three-way intersection. Turn right and enter the Lake Kachess Campground. Just past the fee booth at the entrance (camping fee only), turn left and drive about 0.5 mile to the parking area for Little Kachess Trail No. 1312.

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Note: the description and driving directions for this Mountaineers Books entry are copyrighted and can't be changed.

Recent Trip Reports

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There are 4 trip reports for this hike.
Kachess Lake — Jun 02, 2013 — Jen
Day hike
Issues: Bridge out
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Bridge out and the tree lying across the river is no alternative, not with young kids and late sprin...
Bridge out and the tree lying across the river is no alternative, not with young kids and late spring river water.

Thousand Trails manages now, so forest service pass won't do. must pay $7 fee. bring a pen if going to enjoy the lake.


Certainly no access to this tall right now, in any case.
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Kachess Lake, Little Kachess — Aug 21, 2012 — Chad
Day hike
Issues: Bridge out
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Turned out to be a nice little hike, despite being a bit difficult to find. The bridge is still out...
Turned out to be a nice little hike, despite being a bit difficult to find. The bridge is still out but there is an easy log crossing right next to the previous bridge. At the remains of the bridge there the trail starts. It is wide and flat for about 1/3 of a mile, then the wide trail comes to a dead end at a platform lookout. I am not sure how to make it a loop as is in the book description. Just short of the end of the groomed path is a small branch to the left labeled No. 1312. This climbs fairly steeply to continue to follow the lake to the north but higher on the hill. The trail is full of roots etc, but not too bad. We had our kids with us, so we only made it another 1/4 mile or so, but the trail was in reasonably good shape for at least that far. My kids did fine on the log crossing, but did not like the steep trail much.
It is not especially easy to find the trailhead as there are really no signs in the campground. You have to pay at the entrance ($7 day use fee); they no longer accept the Northwest Forest Pass. After the entrance make a left at the T intersection. Take this to the end and ther is a loop here. You can park here, or go to the West (upstream) side of the loop where there is another narrow paved road that goes past a bathroom. You can drive a short distance here to another parking lot. From this lot head West upstream a short distance and you will see the remains of the bridge and the log crossing just upstream from the bridge.
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Kachess Lake — Aug 04, 2011 — Weluv2hike.
Day hike
Issues: Bridge out
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wanted to get a quick lake hike in before heading to navaho pass. The bridge that crosses the river ...
wanted to get a quick lake hike in before heading to navaho pass. The bridge that crosses the river at the begining of the hike is gone. We wentacross the river and completed. The rocks are very slippery. Beautiful lake.
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Kachess Lake Shore — May 30, 2009 — BethS
Day hike
Issues: Road to trailhead inaccessible
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We thought this would be a nice hike with no snow on a beautiful day, but no such luck. The trail st...
We thought this would be a nice hike with no snow on a beautiful day, but no such luck. The trail starts in the Kachess lake campground, which was closed, because of hazardous tree removal. The gate is closed and there are signs and caution tape all over. We thought we'd go around the campground to access the trail, but a staff person saw us and told us to leave. She said there are many blowdowns and leaning trees and that the campground would be partiall open by June 6th.
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Kachess Lake by Bev.jpg
Kachess Lake by Bev
Location
Kachess Lake Shore (#1301)
Snoqualmie Pass
Cle Elum Ranger District
Statistics
Roundtrip 1.0 miles
Elevation Gain 50 ft
Highest Point 2300 ft
Features
Lakes
Old growth
User info
Good for kids
Northwest Forest Pass required
Guidebooks & Maps
Green Trails Kachess Lake No. 208

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Note: the description and driving directions for this Mountaineers Books entry are copyrighted and can't be changed.

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Red MarkerKachess Lake
47.3587 -121.24605
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