Jun 14, 2012
- Type of Outing
- Day hike
- Read More in our Hiking Guide
- Hike: Lake Isabel
- Region: Central Cascades -- Stevens Pass - West
- Agency: Mt. Baker/Snoqualmie NF, Skykomish District
- Avg Rating: 3.00
- Hiking Companions
- Hiked with a dog
- Why You Should Go Now
- Wildflowers blooming
- Be Aware Of
Continue along the road. Then, about 3/4 of a mile in, you'll veer to the right. Right around that time, the road will cross under some big powerlines and begin its ascent up the hill. Keep climbing upward. The road will switchback. At about the two mile mark the road will switch to right. Here you will want to keep left. The trail is there in amongst the trees. It is unmarked except for some bright, neon orange and pink plastic ribbons to guide you. Follow the trail up the side of the mountain. You'll be shaded by trees most of the way. There are a few second and first growth trees that were spared the axe many years ago. A few of the cedars are quite impressive.
You'll eventually hear the rushing May Creek. Follow May Creek. The route is steep and a bit slick, but there are rushing rapids and a cascading waterfall or two along the way to reward you for your hard work. Also, this area has a lot of history associated with it. There are lots of overgrown trails and roads up there from all the mining that took place in these hillsides over a hundred years ago. With that in mind, it's easy to get lost. However, you can pretty much bet that if you keep climbing upward you'll reach your destination. Still, be prepared to backtrack.
The lake is pretty, and come mid-summer it will offer some great swimming, but there isn't a lot of beach access. And, maddeningly, a few of the lake's less thoughtful visitors have left their mark on the landscape in the form of trash and the mangled stumps of the small trees they chopped down, presumably for firewood. At any rate, this hike is a great workout, with a lovely sub-alpine lake to enjoy at trail's end.
P.S. If this report persuades you to try and find Lake Isabel, pack in a plastic grocery sack and pack out a few pieces of trash with you. If even a few folks did this we could clean this beautiful location up in a hurry. Cheers, and happy hiking!