You are here: Home Find a Hike Hiking Guide Melakwa Lake

Melakwa Lake

» REI » Amazon

A portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.

Crowds abate once past Denny Creek's waterfalls--the hordes thinning to a respectable number of serious hikers looking for an alpine lake experience. And what an experience! The trail finally crests Hemlock Pass and descends moderately to Melakwa Lake, a broad alpine wonder with rocky slopes leading straight down into the crystal water. Those bright waters also reflect the craggy peaks that ring the lake: Chair and Kaleetan Peaks, most notably.

Hike up the trail as it rolls under the I-90 westbound viaduct to the Denny Creek waterslide at 1.3 miles. You'll pass Keekwulee Falls and Snowshoe Falls at 1.4 and 2 miles and will then climb the long, steep valley of Denny Creek. The path crosses the creek periodically and ambles through dense forest and across rocky avalanche chutes.

At about 3 miles the trail gets serious about climbing and weaves up a series of switchbacks to Hemlock Pass at 3.5 miles (elev. 4600 ft). The trail slides through the forested pass (yes, it's largely a hemlock forest), before dropping gradually over the next mile to the shores of Melakwa Lake.

Avoid walking though the fragile meadows as much as possible--there's enough rock and established trail that you won't need to further damage the already trampled heather and wildflower fields around the lake.
Driving Directions:

From Seattle drive east on I-90 to exit 47 (Asahel Curtis/Denny Creek). Turn left over the overpass and proceed to a T. Turn right and travel 0.25 mile to Denny Creek Road (Forest Road 58). Turn left and drive 2.5 miles, turning left on the paved road just after the Denny Creek Campground. The trailhead is at the road's end.

Improve or add to this guidebook entry

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

Recent Trip Reports

Hiked here recently? Submit a trip report!
There are 340 trip reports for this hike. See all trip reports for this hike.
Denny Creek, Melakwa Lake — Nov 23, 2013 — ocean_hiker
Day hike
Issues: Blowdowns | Water on trail | Snow on trail
Expand report text Hide report text
Hiked up Denny Creek to Melakwa Lake today. A little snow at trailhead, getting deeper as you go hig...
Hiked up Denny Creek to Melakwa Lake today. A little snow at trailhead, getting deeper as you go higher. Brought snowshoes but didn't need them, as the snow was pretty packed down and crusty. Hiking poles were handy for balance on slippery sections and stream crossings (water level was low but rocks were covered in ice). Yaktrax or similar probably would have been useful. A few blowdowns on the trail, but easily walked around. Lake was mostly frozen over. Beautiful sunny day!
Read full report
Melakwa Lake — Nov 16, 2013 — Big Daddy P.
Day hike
Issues: Snow on trail
Expand report text Hide report text
Tons of snow, knee deep powder pass snoeshoe falls all the way to the lake,...
Tons of snow, knee deep powder pass snoeshoe falls all the way to the lake,
Read full report with photos
Melakwa Lake — Nov 10, 2013 — shane
Day hike
Issues: Mudholes | Water on trail | Snow on trail
Expand report text Hide report text
Made it to the lake, though I might have been the only one today. Once past the main cascading water...
Made it to the lake, though I might have been the only one today. Once past the main cascading waterfall on the right, lots of snow on the trail, increasing (obviously) toward the pass. At that point, as the trail climbed through snow-laden trees, the barrages from above were a little daunting; some sounded flat-out like avalanches. I was lucky to avoid a bash on the head, as the clumps were falling all around, and were icy and heavy. Once over Hemlock Pass, the trail became very wet and slushy; the conditions felt spring-like over there. The sun tried to come out... but lost to the fog. The lake was lovely, draped in fog, slight sheets of ice starting to take hold on the surface. I was able to enjoy the sounds of the dripping leaves and otherwise silence at the lake. Met up with some folks on their way up as I headed down; not sure if any made it.
Read full report with photos
Melakwa Lake — Nov 03, 2013 — Elsa
Day hike
Issues: Mudholes | Water on trail | Snow on trail
Expand report text Hide report text
Winter hike starts! The trail was covered by snow starting 1 mile from the trail head. It was our fi...
Winter hike starts! The trail was covered by snow starting 1 mile from the trail head. It was our first time there and we got lost around 0.7 mile from the trailhead (near by slide rock where you need to cross the creek for the first time). Luckily we met other group and were able to get to the lake. After crossing the creek, the path was very clear.

Because it was snowing heavily, the trail was muddy and wet. Make sure you bring your waterproof hiking boots to enjoy the hike.
Read full report with photos
Melakwa Lake — Oct 30, 2013 — Humperdink
Day hike
Expand report text Hide report text
Snow free! Lots of mushrooms, so bring your guidebook. I would say this is not the trail for fall fo...
Snow free! Lots of mushrooms, so bring your guidebook. I would say this is not the trail for fall foliage, however.
Read full report
Melakwa Lake shadow's mom.JPG
Melakwa Lake. Photo by Shadow's Mom.
WTA worked here!
2011
Location
Melakwa Lake (#1011)
Snoqualmie Pass -- Snoqualmie Pass
Mount Baker -Snoqualmie National Forest, Snoqualmie Ranger District, North Bend office
Statistics
Roundtrip 9.0 miles
Elevation Gain 2300 ft
Highest Point 4600 ft
Features
Lakes
Waterfalls
Ridges/passes
Established campsites
User info
Northwest Forest Pass required
Guidebooks & Maps
Day Hiking: Snoqualmie Pass (Nelson & Bauer - Mountaineers Books)
Green Trails Snoqualmie Pass No. 207

Improve or add to this guidebook entry

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

Map it
Red MarkerMelakwa Lake
47.41505 -121.443216667
  • Trail Work 2011
(47.4151, -121.4432) Open in new window
Document Actions
  • Print this
  • Share
Get the Guidebooks

Mountaineers three booksSelect content from The Mountaineers Books' guidebooks is featured in this Hiking Guide. Sales of the books from this website help protect and maintain trails.

> Shop Now

More hikes » Hike of the Week
Lewis River Trail (Apr 10)

Lewis River Trail

South Cascades

We're at the cusp of waterfall season! With five waterfalls in a 7-mile roundtrip, this Lewis River hike is one to keep on your April-June to-do list. If you're hiking with creaky knees or kiddos, take in the magnificent, close-in Lower Lewis River Falls. If you want a longer hike with some ups and downs, venture all the way to Taidnapum Falls, 3.5 miles in.

Get Trail News

Subscribe to our free email newsletter for hiking news, events, gear reviews and more.

What's Happening
Trails and Ales - Spokane 2014 Apr 22, 2014 Meet fellow hikers and raise a glass for trails!
Hiker Potluck in Vancouver May 28, 2014 Come out for an evening of great food, meet other hikers and learn what is happening on trails near you.
More »