A few weeks ago when we had the use of a decked-out Toyota 4-Runner the hubby reminisced about camping and hiking trips from bygone days when we used to borrow his aunt’s 4-runner and explore. He found a hike in Snoqualmie Pass where we’ve been hanging out a lot lately and it seemed pretty kid-friendly but a little more back-country than we’ve been in a while. We love hikes with fun things to see and Mirror Lake sounded really beautiful.
We followed the driving directions on the Washington Trails Organization blog and after about 6 miles on dirt roads that felt like they were leading into the middle of nowhere we ended up at our trailhead.
I admit I was a little worried when we arrived and only saw one car-I am not a wilderness girl. I need more technology and modernity to let me know that we still are in touch with civilization and I could barely find an internet ping on my phone. The driving directions mentioned that you could take a jeep or all-terrain vehicle up the rocky section to save a bit of the hike but we were borrowing this 4-runner and I didn’t want to chance it but I think this vehicle could have definitely handled this. (Remember, it has a camel button so it probably has some other fancy features on this kind of rocky terrain too!)
Roundtrip the whole trail is a little over 3 miles if your vehicle can’t get up the rocky hill and it’s about 1.6 miles until you meet the lake. There were a few beautiful vistas as we trekked through tall trees and little creeks, berry bushes and mushrooms that were neat to point out to the boys too.
We noticed some awesome lake-side campsites as we got nearer to Mirror Lake and the boys all began dreaming about backpack camping next year. Apparently this trail also connects to the Pacific Northwest Trail too and this reminded me that I need to read that book “Wild”one of these days. (Have you read it? I’d love to hear about it!) We found a little beach and ate our snacks and threw some rocks into the lake. The lake looked so inviting we wondered if it was a place that we could swim.
On our way back from Mirror Lake we couldn’t believe how crowded the trail became. We had seen no one at the lake or on our hike in, but we ran into many families carrying water toys, rings and floats as we headed back to our car. We realized that next time we come here we can spend a whole day here lounging and splashing and picnicking in the forest and maybe this trail isn’t as remote as I first thought it was. But while there were many more cars parked where we did, no one was parked at the top of the steep rocky dirt path so I think we were wise not to chance it.
The trail back down to the car and the lack of bathrooms might be a deterrent for families with really young kids but our six-year olds had a great time and we saw a few families toting kids far younger than ours. We also didn’t hear a lot of complaints while we were walking so I think this hike was a decent length and interesting enough for their age. And the lake is so gorgeous and refreshing on days like the sunny stretches we’ve been having in Seattle lately, it is definitely a hike we’ll revisit.
(PS. I received use of the Toyota 4-runner mentioned in this post but I was not required to write this and my opinions are my own.)
(PPS. don’t forget to bring enough water, snacks and a first aid kit.)