Waterfalls, wildflowers, pretty wood bridges, and an emerald lake – the Lake Annette hike has something for everyone! At more than 7.5 miles round trip with steady climbing, I would not classify this hike as easy. But if you have enough time in your hands to be able to take a lot of breaks to rest the legs, this hike is totally do-able by beginner hikers like me.
It took me about 3 hours to go uphill to the lake from the trailhead (where the car parking is) and about 2 hours to come back down.
This lovely hike is only a one hour drive from Seattle downtown and a half-hour drive into the Cascades mountain range from our home. Getting there is fairly easy, with most of the drive occurring on the freeway. Some hikes require driving through forest roads riddled with potholes, but this hike isn’t one of them. While it’s no big deal for your car, I would caution against bringing pre-schoolers/ kindergarteners to this trail as there are a lot of exposed rocks and roots.
I experienced just the right amount of solitude on this hike. I was not rubbing shoulders with other hikers, and at the same time I would pass other groups every 5-10 minutes. Thus I got the feeling of having the forests, trees and meadows to myself, without being completely isolated. Almost everyone was masked and giving others lot of room to pass safely – great pandemic etiquette!
From the trailhead you quickly come to a lovely waterfall that can viewed by a from a quaint wooden bridge. The trail soon opens to meadows with wildflowers. Then the steady climb begins to get to the lake. At few different points, I found myself hiking on narrow ledges overlooking valleys and mountains. These make for great views, but you also need to be sure-footed and focused on these parts of the trail. Once you get to the lake, there are a few access points to get to the water, and truly enjoy the fruits of your labor.
This trailhead is also the starting point of the Asahel Curtis nature trail, and like the Lake Annette trail, starts with a lovely cascading creek. I did not do the entire Asahel Curtis trail, and only went as far as the first wooden bridge to photograph the Humpback creek. I plan to come back and do this kid-friendly trail with my daughter.
I would not say that you should do this hike if you are in the Seattle area for a week. But definitely do it if you are here for more than a month. I will be happy to take you there!