Mirror Lake reflects a great hike
August 22, 2014
By Gloria Vazquez
With the summer heating up again, think about cooling off with a hike that ends at a water hole enticing enough for wading and deep enough for swimming.
Drive approximately 35 minutes east from North Bend to a sweet little gem that my daughter and I recently discovered – Mirror Lake.
The Mirror Lake trail lies southwest of Snoqualmie Pass and doesn’t see much boot traffic.
In fact, we were the only ones on the trail that sunny afternoon. From Seattle drive east on 1-90 to exit 62, the Kachess Lake exit turnoff. Turn right off the exit ramp and drive on a paved road for approximately 1.1 miles. Turn right again, onto the well-maintained gravel Forest Road 5480. Wind your way up and around the edge of beautiful Lost Lake.
Soon the road forks five ways. Take the third road from the left or the middle road.
Continue to make your way up, and at approximately 7.1 miles from the freeway exit, Forest Road 5480 will become narrow and rough. Stop and look for a stake with a trailhead marker.
Park and lock your car at this point. (Do not leave any valuables in sight in your vehicle.)
Hike a half mile up a very rocky path or primitive road until you come to another short stake, held up by rocks.
Turn left and hike another half mile through a somewhat bushy and narrow trail. The trail soon opens up and at about one mile into the hike, start looking for a wood sign tacked to a tree. It points to Mirror Lake and the Pacific Crest Trail.
At this point you will be at the base of Cottonwood Lake, a small lake, more like the size of a pond.
From Cottonwood Lake the trail meanders peacefully for another half mile, following a moderate incline to the shores of Mirror Lake.
Trail signs tacked on trees will mark the way. Forest lines most of the edge of the lake, but there are a few cleared sandy spots that make a perfect place to picnic or even pitch a tent for an overnight stay.
Peaceful pleasures await you on this trail, and the water beckons hikers to unlace their boots and cool their feet. More intrepid hikers may wish to go for a swim in the cool waters. Consider lingering on the lake’s edge and enjoy the reflections of nearby peaks on the glassy lake. You’ll see why this picturesque gem was named Mirror Lake.
The entire hike is three miles with a gradual, moderate climb. It makes a lovely day hike for families with older children and pets.
Continue hiking north on the Pacific Crest Trail – it is only another 200 miles to the trail’s end.
Gloria Vazquez is a freelance writer and hiker who lives in the Snoqualmie Valley. She can be reached at email@example.com.