Lake 22 Trail Report

The curiously-named Lake Twentytwo is the center of an oasis of alpine wetland nestled on the northern shoulder of Mount Pilchuck. The hike to the lake combines the best of mountain rainforests, old-growth, wetlands, and mountain views, yet it is readily accessible. In winter the route lends itself to snowshoeing.


As Spring ushers in warmer weather, I broke out the boots in preparation for another round of summer adventures. Lake 22 is a heavily trafficked 5.4 mile, 1350′ elevation trail that is a little more than an hour’s drive from downtown Seattle. I was looking for something with a view at the end and I’ve heard good things about Lake 22. From the reports, most of the snow had melted by now. I packed my usual photo gear, along with a pair of microspikes.

I have to admit, I tend to favor hikes with photographic opportunities. I love hiking, but it takes a backseat to photography. So slight disclaimer: the trip report is more focused on photography and how the trail fares.

Lake 22 Trail

The trail starts on a well maintained path and quickly enters a lush “almost rainforest” forest. There are plenty of small streams and mini-waterfalls along the way, some of which would make for nice photos. Almost the entire trail is “wet” and the construction of the trail really shows for it. There are a multitude of small bridges, retaining walls, and rocks to help maintain the trail against constant rainfall.

Heavy rains and melting snow = “streams” – iPhone

After a bunch of switchbacks, you’ll exit the forest into a clearing where you’ll be able to see “Mountain Loop” around and across from you. With the right lighting and mood, there are some interesting compositions that you can find around here.

Morning fog and clouds hover over the distant Stillaguamish River - iPhone
Morning fog and clouds hover over the distant Stillaguamish River – iPhone
Well maintained steps make for an easy ascent - iPhone
Well maintained steps make for an easy ascent – iPhone

Eventually the trail winds back into the forest again. From here it’s a short upward trek to the Lake. There was still a few feet of snow coverage here, though nothing that you need traction or snowshoes for. I reckon if I was here 2 weeks earlier, it would be a fun snowshoe around the lake.

Salamander in the snow - iPhone
Salamander in the snow – iPhone


The lake itself was moderately crowded. On weekends it is definitely too popular for my taste. I would recommend an early morning hike or late day trek to beat the crowds. The lake itself is nice, with a good view of the north face of the popular Mt. Pilchuck, however not the best for finding a composition.

Photo Trip Rating: 4/10
Hike Worthy Rating: 7/10

Great easy hike overall. It’s accessible to all levels, a short distance from Seattle, and has a view at the end. Nice hike to enjoy with friends or just for a quick excursion from urban life. However, photographically speaking, it leaves one wanting more.

Snow covered Lake 22 with Pilchuck looming above - A7RII
Snow covered Lake 22 with Pilchuck looming above – A7RII
Heather lake lies just behind - A7RII
Heather lake lies just behind – A7RII


Hey there, I’m Jon! I love landscape photography which is why I travel all the time! On my blog I’ll share all the best spots for epic sunsets and sunrises as well as some photography tips and tricks. I also have a interest in game design so you’ll find the occasional post about that too. Thanks for visiting!

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Amazing! Love the last two photos. Keep the posts coming 🙂


Glad you enjoyed the post, Tash. Thanks for visiting!