Pete Lake is the headwater of the Cooper River, the most significant waterway of the Salmon la Sac region. The trail to the lake is one of the more popular hiking pathways on the east side of Snoqualmie Pass, with its diversity of uses and wildlife. It is enjoyable for campers, hikers, and birders. Climbers use it as a staging area for tackling Big Summit Chief and Chimney Rock.
From the parking area the trail heads northwest into the forest, at times hugging the Cooper River. Pass under towering old growth western white pine, Douglas fir, western hemlock, mountain hemlock, and Engelmann spruce—you may need to check cones to tell who’s who! The trail has a mild amount of up-and-down, some of which results from crossing eight easily-forded creeks. Pack animals walk this trail, too, so watch your steps.
The trail’s grade and direction are consistent; 4.5 miles from and 400 feet higher than your starting point, bootpaths diverge and reach out to campsites at the shore of the lake. Along the way and at the lake, you may notice hummingbirds, common mergansers, pine siskins, evening grosbeaks, fishers, and martens. Deer, bobcats, coyotes, and cougar prowl this area. Also be cautious for wildflower overload: the list includes but is not limited to oxeye daisy, lupine, paintbrush, fireweed, Columbia lily, thimbleberry, salmonberry, candyflower, Queen Anne’s lace, buttercup, heartleaf arnica, western columbine, queen’s cup, and bunchberry dogwood.
When you reach the lake, which sits in a broad basin, apply your bug spray, for the mosquitoes love this lake, too. Watch the birds, photograph the flowers, or take a swim in the shallow waters. When the weather is clear and the waters are calm, Chimney Rock to the left and Big Summit Chief to the right, both to the northwest, are reflected in the waters.
- 9.0 miles, roundtrip
- Elevation Gain
- 400 feet
- Highest Point
- 3,200 feet
Hiking Pete Lake
Map & Directions
Co-ordinates: 47.4350, -121.1855 Open in Google Maps