Western Washington, hiking, climbing, Best of the NW year-round trails
The roar of i90 far above quickly dissipates as you enter a world of deep green forests, waterfalls, mountain lakes and craggy peaks. From the often crowded trail head. Cross directly under the I90 over pass at a half mile. Soon reaching the ever-popular Denny Waterslide at 1 mile.
Continue on now more steeply upward past Keekwullee Falls and over Hemlock Pass to descend into Melakwa Lake at 4.5 miles.
The standard (recommended route) south ridge trail begins at the outhouse sign.
Otherwise continue up past the upper lake through the talus filled basin below Chair Peak. There is a trial and cairns to follow in the talus.
Chose a chute up the SE face to ascend crossing some sketchy loose rock and heather before finding good solid 3rd/4th class rock to scramble up to the south ridge crest to meet up with the main trail just before the 3rd class scramble to the summit.
Take in alpine lakes and peaks from this high perch. A summit marker points to distinctive peaks: Baker, Glacier, Stuart, and Rainier you can even catch a glimps of downtown Seattle past Mount Si.
Return on the south ridge trail which descends the 3rd class scramble before climbing again up to 5,700 with sweeping views of Chair Peak and the Tooth before winding down through rock crevices and berry patches back into the Melawka lake basin where you might consider a cool down.
By mid afternoon the lower stretch of trail and Denny water slide will almost surely be packed with hikers and kids enjoying wading in the stream.
Tap & Go