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Trip Report    

CHS 1 Hike - Josephine Lake to Tunnel Creek

1-way trip involving car shuttle. Starting at Stevens Pass, ending at Tunnel Creek TH for total of ~11 miles. Visiting 4 lakes: Susan Jane Lake, Lake Josephine, Mig Lake and Hope Lake.

  • Road rough but passable
  • This route goes south on the PCT through the ski area and past Lake Susan Jane, then a side trail to the southeast side of Josephine Lake for lunch. After returning to the PCT continue south, passing over the saddle below Lux Peak and continue to Mig Lake and Hope Lake. After Hope Lake say au revoir to the PCT and take the Tunnel Creek Trail to the Tunnel Creek trailhead.

    The turnoff to Josephine Lake is marked by the Icicle Creek Trail sign. This sign is not permanently planted in the ground; so, it could fall over or, in colder weather, be covered by snow. There are a couple of blow downs on the trail to the southeast side of Josephine Lake. One requires climbing through the root mass of the fallen tree, but it's just a short scramble.  A 7-22-2022 WTA trip report includes a picture (LINK).

    Starting at Stevens Pass, then exiting at Tunnel Creek involves more downhill (elevation loss) than uphill (elevation gain).  We logged elevation gain ~2100' and elevation loss ~2900').  This is because there's about 1000' elevation difference between the TH at Stevens Pass  (higher) and the TH at Tunnel Creek (lower).

    The tread and trail conditions are not challenging. There are a few rocky sections, such as coming down the switchbacks next to the Jupiter Express chairlift toward the power lines, ascending from Lake Susan Jane and descending from the saddle north of Lux Peak and south of Lumiere Ridge.  On the other hand, the Tunnel Creek trail is rooty and rocky, but it's only 1.5 miles to the TH from the turnoff on the PCT.

It's best to drop your shuttle vehicle(s) at the Tunnel Creek TH as you're going eastbound on Rt 2.  There's a concrete barrier between the lanes at the turnoff to the Tunnel Creek road (FR 6095).  If your group meets at Stevens Pass and then you run the shuttle, you'll have to make a U-turn at the west end of the concrete barrier - where there's no actual lane for doing this U-turn.

The road to the Tunnel Creek trailhead is rough and has potholes. The potholes are not deep; nonethless, a low clearance sedan would need to go slow.  Parking at the Tunnel Creek TH is mostly along the sides of the deadend road, but if lucky you'll get one of the two places where a vehicle can actually pull in 😊

Huckleberry bushes are abundant from Stevens Pass to Lumiere Ridge, expect lots of berry when in season 😋. There were lots of wildflowers in bloom along this route, especially along the Icicle Creek trail to Josephine Lake. Our group took a swim in the Josephine Lake which was a surprisingly cool (not cold)  temperature.  Use of watershoes are a good idea for those who are tenderfooted.  At 12noon, there was both sun and shade at the lake access area at the southeast end.