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Squaw Lake

Snoqualmie Region

Location

Snoqualmie Region -- Salmon La Sac/Teanaway
View map below

Length

5.0 miles, roundtrip

Elevation

Gain: 1500 ft.
Highest Point: 4850 ft.

Rating

3.80 out of 5

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Note: The term “squaw” is considered a derogatory and offensive slur by North American indigenous groups. WTA supports the ongoing efforts to rename the many geographical places that bear this name. 

The short trail up to Squaw Lake begins at the sign for Cathedral Trail No.1345. The lake is not listed on the trail sign, but you won’t miss it on the way up. Spy Cathedral Rock jutting forth from the ridgeline to the northwest. Follow the trail through the rich Tucquala Meadow, which quickly gives way to thick forest. Cross the bridge over Cle Elum River, and continue up and through the trees, noticing some of the old growth behemoths that watch over the valley.

In late summer, huckleberries and salmonberries line the trail, although the ones higher up the ridge will take more time to ripen. At 0.5 mile, cross into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Once within the wilderness, the long switchbacks gradually bring you up the hillside, offering peeking views of the green valley below and the rusty mountain peaks to the east.

At 2 miles, reach a signed junction with Trail Creek Trail 1332 and continue straight. The trail becomes rockier and steeper after the junction, but you’re almost to the lake. Just before the lake, notice a toilet sign nailed to a tree on your left; there is a composting toilet just down the way.

Continue straight to arrive at the glittering, quiet lake. There are several trails snaking around the lake to various campsites, any of which make a great picnic or overnight spot. There is a designated horse camp located on the lake’s north side. The water can be surprisingly warm and clear, and you’re sure to spot frogs and other creatures nearby. Return the way you came, or extend your trip by continuing up to Cathedral Pass.

 

Squaw Lake

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 47.5435, -121.0968 Open map in new window

Trailhead

Snoqualmie Region -- Salmon La Sac/Teanaway

Cathedral Pass Trail (#1345)

Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Cle Elum Ranger District

See weather forecast

Guidebooks & Maps

Alpine Lakes Wilderness: The Complete Hiking Guide (Nathan Barnes & Jeremy Barnes, Mountaineers Books)

Getting There

From Seattle: Take I-90 east to exit 80 toward Roslyn/Suncadia. Turn left onto Bullfrog Road. Drive 2.1 miles, at the traffic circle, take the first exit to continue on Bullfrog Road. Drive another 0.7 miles, continue straight through the traffic circle onto WA-903 N.

From Ellensburg: Take I-90 west to exit 84 toward Cle Elum. Turn right onto Oakes Ave, follow for a 0.5 mile, then turn left onto W 2nd St/WA-903 N. Drive 2.2 miles and take the first exit at the traffic circle to stay on WA-903 N.

Continue through Roslyn, then turn left onto W Nevada Ave/WA-903 N. Follow the road right as it becomes N 7th St/WA-903 N. Continue for 14.8 miles until the end of the maintained road. Take a slight right onto Cle Elum Valley Rd/NF-4330. The rest of the drive is on a gravel road with varying conditions, and low clearance vehicles should use caution.

Continue past all turn offs, and slow down through private land and campground areas. After 9 miles on NF-4330, Scatter Creek flows over the road and could be impassable in early spring. At 12.3 miles, take a slight left onto NF-153, where the parking lot is located.

Notice the signs for designated horse trailer parking alongside the road, and park in the car lot near the restrooms. There is room for about 15 cars, plus more space alongside the road. There are picnic tables and pit toilets but no trash cans. This parking area is often near full as many backpacking treks begin here. A Northwest Forest Pass is required to park, and there is no pay station at the lot. A Wilderness Permit box is located at the “Cathedral Trail No.1345” sign.

 

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Squaw Lake

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