If you’re looking for a hike close to Seattle but a little off the beaten path of the Issaquah Alps favorites, which can get crowded, try Annette Lake. The trailhead is just a little farther down I-90 and right off exit 47 (before Snoqualmie Pass); it shares a parking lot with trailhead to the Asahel Curtis Nature Trail.
Don’t be discouraged by the road noise from I-90 - you’ll soon be out of it. The beginning of the hike features a spectacular waterfall and bridge crossing Humpback Creek that give you a taste of things to come’ it’s a moderately strenuous hike that features scenery with a great payoff.
After the waterfall, you’ll quickly cross a couple of fields, cut for the power lines that run through. Once past those, you’ll be in lovely forest, with massive cedars and Douglas firs and streams trickling through periodically. Peek-a-boo glimpses through the forest of the mountainside just to the west will make you feel like you’re really out in the backcountry.The elevation gain is about 1800 feet in the approximately 3.5 miles to the lake. It’s enough to feel you’re moving upward, without feeling like you’re punishing the quads. If Mount Si has been your go-to close-to-home workout, Annette Lake provides a nice change of pace.
The hike winds down with a few talus fields, also filled with blueberries and wildflowers, where the sun will heat you up after the cool shade of the forests, then back under the branches for the final, mostly flat, push to the lake. The journey is lovely, but the destination is sublime. Annette Lake is ringed with trees, with a gorgeous view of peaks on either side. There are some places to camp if backpacking is your thing, but a quick swim (if you’re the hearty type) and lunch before heading back down to your car is a solid option for a gorgeous warm fall day.
Ready to dip your toes in?