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

Skyline Lake

» REI » Amazon

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

This quiet little tarn is tucked in a ridge high above the hustle and bustle of Stevens Pass. Following a steep jeep track, the hike is not exactly a nice trail experience. But the views of the busy pass are good, and Skyline makes a nice leg stretcher if you're passing through. In summer, wildflowers brighten the way, and huckleberries add an incentive to visit in fall. And if you follow the jeep track beyond the lake, you'll add good views of Nason Ridge to your hike.

Locate a gravel road left of a residence and electric substation. Walk it, passing more residences and ski area buildings. At about 0.2 mile come to a gated road beside a power pole. This is your route to Skyline. Climbing steeply, the way passes more utility buildings, occasionally breaking out of forest to open slopes covered in wildflowers and granting views south to ski slopes and west to the avalanche slopes of Windy Mountain.

At 0.75 mile pass an interesting utility tower (elev. 4875 ft). Continue up the road another 0.25 mile to a Y junction (elev. 5050 ft). The main road travels right, ending at a cell tower. A good view east to Nason Ridge makes it a worthy side trip. The way to Skyline, however, is left, on a lighter jeep track that eventually becomes a single-track trail. A final easy push through heather meadows delivers you to tiny Skyline Lake (elev. 5100 ft).

The shallow tarn makes for good foot soaking in late summer. It is then, too, that you can easily walk around this alpine lake. Otherwise, admire it from where you are resisting temptation to crash through (subsequently killing) fragile heather to explore the shoreline.
Driving Directions:

From Everett head east on US 2 for 65 miles to Stevens Pass (elev. 4056 ft). Park on the north side of the pass, careful not to block any driveways or access roads.

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 19 trip reports for this hike. See all trip reports for this hike.
Skyline Lake Snowshoe, Skyline Lake — Feb 22, 2014 — Ali
Snowshoe/XC Ski
Expand report text Hide report text
parking is scarce so go early! for wonderful views keep going past the lake, the terrain is like a d...
parking is scarce so go early! for wonderful views keep going past the lake, the terrain is like a disney movie! no problems with the trail at all, the path was really easy to find! keep going past the first radio tower, and after that take a left at the fork.
Read full report with photos
Skyline Lake — Nov 09, 2013 — Maura
Snowshoe/XC Ski
Issues: Snow on trail
Expand report text Hide report text
For a complete trip report and more pics please feel free to check out our blog http://bobbyandmaura...
For a complete trip report and more pics please feel free to check out our blog http://bobbyandmaura.com/snowshoeing/skyline-lake

This was a tough trail to chose as the location for our inaugural snowshoe for the season, we are pretty out of shape! But it was a fun and challenging trek! Sadly, low cloud coverage moved in as we hiked, making the views at the lake impossible to see.

There was one group of snowshoers ahead of us who were tasked with blazing the trail. Skiers had already gone before, making a trail, but we were the first snowshoers on site. The going was slow, as the snow was fluffy and deep. We weren't sure if the trail we were on was actually leading to the lake or not. We checked our GPS at a point when we felt as if we should've been reaching the lake and discovered that we were pretty far off course. It's possible that those going before us were headed to the ridge line. That goal was a little too lofty for us on this trip so we ended up heading into the trees and forging a new trail that led us to the lake in no time. As we descended, snow started to fall and we encountered several other groups along the trail so hopefully the trail is getting a little bit more trodden and direct to the lake.
Read full report with photos
Skyline Lake — Nov 09, 2013 — thebrink
Day hike
Issues: Snow on trail
Expand report text Hide report text
I began going up to the lake about 10:00 am with a temperature of thirty two degrees. After just a s...
I began going up to the lake about 10:00 am with a temperature of thirty two degrees. After just a short while, without snowshoes I found I was post holing up to my knees with every step. After about a quarter mile I turned around. There is about two feet of snow on the trail and at the time I went up there was no one else on the trail although there were a couple ski tracks on the trail.
Read full report with photos
Skyline Lake — Apr 20, 2013 — Samsquanch
Day hike
Issues: Snow on trail
Expand report text Hide report text
Headed out on a Mountaineers training trip up to Skyline Lake. The road is compact snow and snowshoe...
Headed out on a Mountaineers training trip up to Skyline Lake. The road is compact snow and snowshoes aren't needed. At times it would be nice to have microspikes. The tarn is still frozen and snowed over but it's a pleasant trip. Even better, there are some great glissade chutes from our group on your way down.
Read full report with photos
Skyline Lake — Nov 24, 2012 — HillGiant
Snowshoe/XC Ski
Issues: Snow on trail
Expand report text Hide report text
We started our hike in the early afternoon and found it to have a good amount of snow on it, perfect...
We started our hike in the early afternoon and found it to have a good amount of snow on it, perfect for snowshoeing. There were also a lot of skiers on the trail, and even a few snowboarders, but from what they told us, the snow wasn't as great for those.

The first mile of the trail is very steep, and we had to stop often to catch our breath. After a ways though, the view opens up and we got a beautiful look at the ski area across the valley. After that view, the trail turns a corner, levels off a bit and gets more sheltered. After another few switchbacks, the turn to get to the lake was fairly clear. It seems like most people were following the road the rest of the way up to another cell phone tower.

The lake itself is small but beautiful. We circled it, staying just on the edge of the water. The lake is not frozen but it has enough snow on it, that you can get firm, if slightly slushy footing a few feet out. The outflow of the lake (on the left side as you hike in) resulted in some tricky footing. A creek cuts under the snow so be very careful.
Read full report
Skyline Lake j brink.jpg
Snowshoeing near Skyline Lake. Photo by j brink.
Location
Central Cascades -- Stevens Pass - East
Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest - Skykomish Ranger District
Statistics
Roundtrip 2.5 miles
Elevation Gain 1050 ft
Highest Point 5100 ft
Features
Lakes
Mountain views
Guidebooks & Maps
Green Trails Stevens Pass No. 176
Benchmark Mtn No. 144

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 MarkerSkyline Lake
47.7472666667 -121.088466667
(47.7473, -121.0885) 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
Diablo Lake Trail (Apr 17)

Diablo Lake

North Cascades

Follow the Diablo Lake Trail up and across talus slopes on the flanks of Sourdough Mountain to impressive cascading waterfalls and stunning views. This hike in the North Cascades Institute's backyard makes a great option for an early season hike in stunning North Cascades National Park, much of which is inaccessible during the winter and spring.

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!
GiveBIG 2014 May 06, 2014 Donate to WTA during The Seattle Foundation's GiveBIG event and grow your impact on 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 »