It's my first time here, too. So I can't give Nanette a good answer. Maybe I avoided Annette Lake because it is so popular. But on an early summer week day when the trail is almost snow free and the wildflowers and waterfalls are at their peak, I'm glad we're here.
Here in the Mountains to Sound Greenway along the I-90 corridor east of Seattle, many of the more scenic trails are heavily used. Think proximity to a major metropolitan area. But those of us who can escape midweek get to enjoy these treasures without the overbearing crowds.
We start hiking in second-growth forest and soon cross a wooden bridge over Humpback Creek, which is raging today with all the snowmelt.
|Humpback Creek from the lower footbridge.|
|Antidote for a hot summer day.|
For another couple miles, the trail meanders and switchbacks upward through lovely forest, a few major rock slides, and finally, a bit of snow right before we arrive at the lake. Along the way we stop and gape at some beautiful little waterfalls and wildflowers.
|This huge old downed tree makes a perfect bridge.|
|After a couple miles we get views of the adjacent ridge.|
|Trilliums were abundant in some rockslides.|
|One of many early summer snowmelt waterfalls along the trail.|
Jerry and his wife have been married 62 years and hiked all over the world, as evidenced by patches on their packs from Nepal, Switzerland, Italy, and France. This summer, at age 82, they're leading a group of friends and family on the Haute Route in the Alps. They're too modest to pose for a shot, but I sneak a picture as they take off down the trail.
|Jerry and his wife leading the charge down the trail.|
|Silver Peak towers over the talus basin below that holds Annette Lake.|
When You Go
The Annette Lake Trail (Trail #1019) is just south off I-90 at the Denny Creek/Asahel Curtis exit (Exit 47) if you're traveling eastbound from the Seattle area. You need a Northwest Forest Pass to park in the lot. While the grade is fairly steady, this is not a particularly challenging or steep hike. This link shows a topo map of the trail in relation to I-90. Different sources attribute different mileage and elevation gain to this trail, from 7.4 miles roundtrip to 7.8 miles, and from 1,400 feet in elevation gain to 1,900. Go figure. You top out at around 3,600 feet at the lake.