Pete & Spectacle Lakes


Backpack - Spectacle Lake

Join the Tacoma Singles Activities Committee on an overnight backpack to Spectacle Lake, "one of the true gems of Snoqualmie Pass", as WTA puts it! We'll start at Cooper Lake, take a break at Pete Lake, and take in mountain views and a stunning waterfall as we make our way to our camping destination. About 10 miles each way with 1760 ft elevation gain. Singles are encouraged to join, but any and all are quite welcome!

  • Moderate
  • Moderate
  • Mileage: 20.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 1,760 ft
  • High Point Elevation: 4,600 ft
  • Pace: 1.5-2.0

The leader plans to camp near the trailhead at Owhi Campground at Cooper Lake on Friday evening (the 17th).  There are first-come, first-serve walk-in sites available at this campground for $14/night ($6 for second vehicle), and there are dispersed camping options as well.   There are vault toilets but no running water at this campground. 

Participants are invited to camp Friday night as well, or to meet at the trailhead at 9am.  Carpooling can be arranged once roster is finalized.  Drivers will need to display a NW Forest Pass

Directions to Trailhead:

Take Exit 80 (Roslyn/Salmon la Sac) off of I-90. Turn left (north) on SR 903/Salmon la Sac Road and continue 16.8 miles through Roslyn and past Cle Elum Lake. Turn left (west) on Forest Road 46 and follow 4.7 miles. Turn right on Forest Road 4616 and continue 1 mile to the trailhead.

WTA trail description: 

This will be an exploratory hike for the leader (I haven't been to Spectacle Lake before), so we'll be discovering this route and destination together!  You can rely on me to be well-researched, however - I've consulted rangers, other hikers, trail descriptions, trip reports, and trail maps.

We'll take this at an easygoing, comfortable pace, stopping first at Pete Lake before continuing on to Spectacle Lake.  The trail to Pete Lake is relatively flat with only 400 feet of elevation gain.   We'll ford Lemah Creek one mile past Pete Lake.  According to rangers at the Cle Elum ranger station (as of August 6th), the crossing at Lemah Creek is manageable - the water is at about knee height.  Participants should bring trekking poles and footwear that can get wet to aid in the creek crossing.   According to the WTA description, "nearly all of the elevation gain on this trail occurs in the last mile. Fortunately the grade is reasonably gradual and well-constructed, and a bridge over a pretty waterfall breaks up the climb."  I definitely plan to take my time on this section.

Bugs will likely be an issue - be sure to bring plenty of bug spray and a mosquito head net!

I plan to swim in the lakes (be warned that they WILL be cold!) and will possibly bring along my inflatable donut for some floating.  Feel free to bring yours along as well if you're willing to take on the extra weight! :)

Some items to note:

  • The trail to the lake can be quite popular and crowded as it is relatively easy and is on the east side of Snoqualmie Pass so it has better than even odds to be drier than on the west side.
  • The Pete Lake Trail is fairly wide and is shared with horses. Don’t be surprised if you run into a few.

Pete & Spectacle Lakes

Required Equipment

Required Equipment

The Ten Essentials plus overnight gear which may include:

  • Tent with footprint/ground tarp
  • Stove and fuel
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Water filter
  • Bear canister or extra stuff sack and cord designated for hanging food
  • Cooking pot/pan with plate and utensils
  • Toilet paper and shovel or blue bag to deal with waste
Trip Reports