CHS 2 Hike

Field trip: Conditioning Hiking Series

CHS 2 Hike - Snow & Gem Lakes (Snoqualmie)

CHS hike led at a CHS 2 pace (2.0-3.0 mph)

  • *Varies*
  • Moderate
  • Mileage: 10.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 2,200 ft

Trailhead Coordinates: 47.4456, -121.4234
From the Seattle area, take I-90 east. Take the EXIT 52/W Summit exit.  Turn left and drive under I-90. Take Erste Strasse to Alpental Access Rd.  Go about 1.5 miles. The sign may say “Snow Lake Trailhead” or it may say “Snoqualmie Mountain Trailhead.  You’ll need a Forest Service Pass or America The Beautiful Pass to park here There's a pit toilet at the trailhead, possibly with toilet paper. 

This is an out-and-back hike.  Gem Lake is nestled at the foot of Wright Mountain and is about two miles beyond the trail junction at Rock Creek trail #1013.1 that intersects with the Snow Lake trail starting close to the Alpental downhill ski area (this is the downhill ski area that’s not visible from I90).  Once we start hiking, we’ll follow the Main Trail (there are signs) up to Snow Lake, then follow the trail all the way around the lake. Eventually, we’ll see the sign for Gem Lake where we’ll take a left and continue past a couple more views of Snow Lake, including over a log bridge. The trail will take us up for about a mile, through another rock field and some mountain meadows until we reach Gem Lake, which rests at a higher elevation than its much larger neighbor, Snow Lake.  Then we’ll turn around and come back the same way.  The hike will be about 10 miles, with about 2,200-3,200 feet of elevation gain.

We recommend you check the weather forecast the night before and again on Sunday morning so you can be well prepared.


Snow & Gem Lakes (Snoqualmie)

  • Green Trails Snoqualmie Pass No. 207

    Alpine Lakes Wilderness (ALPS)

    Green Trails Snoqualmie Pass Gateway No. 207S

    Trails Illustrated Alpine Lakes Wilderness
  • See full route/place details.
Required Equipment

Required Equipment

Ten Essential Systems

  1. Navigation (map & compass)
  2. Sun protection (sunglasses & sunscreen)
  3. Insulation (extra clothing)
  4. Illumination (headlamp/flashlight)
  5. First-aid supplies
  6. Fire (waterproof matches/lighter/candle)
  7. Repair kit and tools
  8. Nutrition (extra food)
  9. Hydration (extra water)
  10. Emergency shelter (tent/plastic tube tent/garbage bag)
Trip Reports