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Lake Twentytwo - Lake 22

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Perched in a spectacular basin at the base of Mount Pilchuck's sheer northern face, sparkling Lake Twentytwo is a stunning sight. But there's more to this popular hike than the picturesque lake and its backdrop of waterfalls and avalanche chutes. For much of the way the well-constructed trail follows cascading Twentytwo Creek through an exemplary ancient forest of gargantuan cedars. An excellent hike to acquaint children and neophytes with the natural world-just don't expect to be alone on this favorite of many a Puget Sound hiker.

As delightful a destination as Lake Twentytwo may be, the real treat on this hike is the forest. Nearly 800 acres of pristine forest surrounding the lake and its outlet were set aside in 1947 as a Research Natural Area (RNA) to study the effects on water, wildlife, and timber of an area left in its virgin state compared to a similar area that has been intensively managed. Upon initial observation entering this primeval patch it doesn't take a forester, scientist, or naturalist to tell you that nature does a pretty darn good job of taking care of things when people aren't messing with it!

The surroundings are lush. Water appears to seep and bubble from the ground everywhere. Moss carpets boulders and rotting logs. Maidenhair, deer, and lady ferns form showy bouquets beneath the behemoth trees. Although western hemlock and silver fir are the predominant species, it's the western red cedars that will garner most of your attention. Colonnades of the giants, some with trunks measuring almost 12 feet in diameter, hold up the sky.

The trail starts by gently traversing a side hill paralleling the road and the South Fork Stilly. In 0.5 mile cross Twentytwo Creek on a little bridge and pause to admire cascades both up- and downstream. The trail then begins to climb, but never too harshly. Volunteers and Forest Service employees have worked hard over the years to crib much of this well-trampled trail, ensuring tread that will stand the impact of thou-sands of boots.

At 2 miles enter a talus slope punctuated with vine and big-leaf maples. Exceptionally pretty in the fall, the views of Green Mountain and the South Fork Stilly valley can still be enjoyed anytime. Upon reentering the cool cloak of ancient conifers, the climbing commences and you can glimpse a thundering waterfall through the thick timber.

Next, enjoy 0.25 mile of level walking following along Twentytwo Creek as you enter the cirque housing Lake Twentytwo. Break out of the trees and behold the lake set beneath an impressive vertical wall of rock. Waterfalls crash off of the sheer cliffs. In early season, so do avalanches-stay well away. By midsummer it's safe to circumnavigate the lake on a delightful 1.2-mile trail.

The lake, which is over 50 feet deep, supports a fair amount of fish. But the only thing you may be intent on catching here is the sun's rays shimmering off of the twinkling waters and a whole lot of gorgeous scenery.
Driving Directions:

From Granite Falls follow the Mountain Loop Highway east for 11 miles to the Verlot Public Service Center. Proceed 2 more miles to the trailhead, on your right (elev. 1050 ft). Privy available.

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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 554 trip reports for this hike. See all trip reports for this hike.
Lake Twentytwo - Lake 22 — Apr 20, 2014 — Alcor
Day hike
Issues: Blowdowns | Water on trail | Snow on trail
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Parking lot was about half full when we reached the TH around 12:30. Weather was mostly cloudy with ...
Parking lot was about half full when we reached the TH around 12:30. Weather was mostly cloudy with the sun peeking out once in a while.

The first half of the trail through old growth forest is beautiful. Lot of flowing water & streams on the trail, especially because of spring melt off. The trail climbs gently overall and is extremely well maintained, evidenced by all the woodwork along the trial.

There are two locations on the talus slope (around 2 miles) where a landslide has dragged down a decent number of trees onto the trail. The first was not an issue. The second was a little harder to climb over. I would not recommend if you are hiking with kids. Wait until the trees are cleared.

Once you cross the slope and enter the forest again, patches of snow start to appear. There is snow on the trail for about the last 0.3 miles, but is compacted enough that you don't need poles.

The lake was partially covered in snow and was gorgeous. We saw and heard a few avalanches on the upper slopes. We did not circle the lake because of snow and avalanche danger. Had a light snack and started back down.

Overall, it was a beautiful hike that I highly recommend doing before all the snow is gone (and then do one more in July-Aug to enjoy a swim)!
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Lake Twentytwo - Lake 22 — Apr 14, 2014 — Jimbo
Day hike
Issues: Avalanche danger
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A solid day of good weather not many people was needed. Took a walk up to Lk 22. 3 rigs in the parki...
A solid day of good weather not many people was needed. Took a walk up to Lk 22. 3 rigs in the parking lot at 10:30, lot's of window glass on the ground.

Open area has a larg slide over trail. Upper part is looking iffy, Older folks and kids may not be able to get over or through it. And the up hill side is looking like it's all just hangging waiting to come down. I told a FS Ranger in the parking lot aobut it. News to them.

Snow at the lake, seen my fist Avi. From there I was in the Silverton area poking around, Great Day to be out.
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Lake Twentytwo - Lake 22 — Apr 13, 2014 — inklein
Day hike
Issues: Blowdowns | Water on trail | Snow on trail
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We hiked to Lake TwentyTwo today -- it was really nice. There was some water on the trail, and highe...
We hiked to Lake TwentyTwo today -- it was really nice. There was some water on the trail, and higher up much of the trail is compact snow. It's easy to follow the trail, but there are two locations lower on the trail and out of the snow where a landslide or avalanche has left a bunch of trees on the trail. It's pretty easily passable, we just had to crawl over and under it.
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Lake Twentytwo - Lake 22 — Apr 08, 2014 — Seth
Day hike
Issues: Blowdowns | Water on trail
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If you are planning to do this hike for the first time, don't. Wait until someone else posts that th...
If you are planning to do this hike for the first time, don't. Wait until someone else posts that the trees have been cleared.

I do this hike a good bit, and it seems that sometime over the past week or so an avalanche has dragged a fair amount of trees over the path once you get into the boulder field towards the top of the trail. The first bit can be cleared without issue, but as you cross back into it further up it's actually hard to see where the trail is and there are way more trees to get over.
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Heather Lake Snowshoe, Big Four Ice Caves, Coal Lake, Elliott Creek, Lake Twentytwo - Lake 22 — Mar 30, 2014 — BigKoz
Day hike
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WARNING!!!!! Car Break ins. Early 80's Red Ford Ranger with white pin stripe on side. 6 foot tall ,...
WARNING!!!!! Car Break ins. Early 80's Red Ford Ranger with white pin stripe on side. 6 foot tall , husky, blond man early to mid 20's with short scruff beard. He robbed 8-10 cars around noon 3/30/14. he is suspected in other break ins on mount-loop trail heads according to police. Get the word out. we saw him right before we left trail head and then speed out of parking lot. If we would have known a vehicle description, I would have stuck around or run him off. Help Keep Our Trail Heads Safe.
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22.jpg
Cadet Peak above Goat Lake. Photo by Dave Frazee.
Location
Lake 22 (#702)
North Cascades -- Mountain Loop Highway
Mt. Baker Snoqualmie National Forest, Darrington Ranger District
Statistics
Roundtrip 5.4 miles
Elevation Gain 1350 ft
Highest Point 2400 ft
Features
Rivers
Lakes
Waterfalls
Old growth
User info
Northwest Forest Pass required
Guidebooks & Maps
Day Hiking: North Cascades (Romano - Mountaineers Books)
Green Trails Granite Falls No. 109
Silverton No. 110;

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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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