Sunday, October 25, 2015

Mirror Lake

 Mirror Lake

Mirror Lake is located just east of Snoqualmie summit.  It is a short but steep hike with 2 beautiful lakes, Cottonwood and Mirror, along the way and a peek-a-boo view of Twilight Lake looking down from the trail just past Mirror Lake.  The trail is mostly dirt with needles and leaves this time of year; however, the usual patches of roots and rocks are also found.  It is a 4 mile round trip up and back or a 5 mile round trip if one stops at Cottonwood and also walks around Mirror Lake.  The vertical gain of 800 ft makes it almost entirely up going in and down on the return.  

The Mirror Lake trail meets the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) at Mirror Lake and we did meet a group of women who had arrived at the lake from another spur trail starting at Hyak and merging with the PCT before reaching the lake.

The paved road ends about 6 miles before the trailhead with a gravel and dirt road continuing the rest of the way up and finally deteriorating into a very rocky, steep, hole filled last section.  Most people park their cars below that last section and walk up.  It would take high clearance and 4 wheel drive vehicle to make it up to where the trail begins.  We have a smaller SUV with good clearance and 4 wheel drive but after looking at the condition of that part of the road we opted to walk up the rest of the way.  

 Cottonwood Lake

 Once at the lake shore it was easy to see why it is called Mirror Lake.  The still waters hold almost perfect reflections of the surroundings forest, mountains, and sky.  The smaller Cottonwood Lake that is passed on the way up to Mirror also had lovely reflections.  The autumn color was predominantly yellow with red and red-orange spots here and there. 

 Mirror Lake

 In places the water changed color from blue to blue-green to shimmering

The third lake, Twilight Lake, can barely be seen just beyond Mirror Lake

 Lots of these mushrooms could be found along the way

The yellow leaves on these trees shone bright in the afternoon sun as we headed back home

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