Public High Lakes Forum High lakes discussion Alpine lakes off I-90

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    • #84328
      scottchristiani71
      Participant

      I am looking for a couple good go-to lakes for a great workout hike and fishing off I-90. I have Fridays off, my wife works some of those days, and I want to be able to get back home fairly easily (I live in Eastlake). I have never done much in the Snoqualmie area, as I grew up in the north end and we always went up US2.

      What I want is something that is a rugged hike, 5-10 miles each way, with few people and good fishing. Bonus if the area holds more than one lake.

      I was looking at lake Snoqualmie, and recently put 2 and 2 together that this is the same lake Snoqualmie that is connected with Deer, Bear, and Dorothy. Unfortunately, from everything I have read, the road is a mess, under construction, and the trail is as well. Does anyone know anything about this project, how it is coming along, and whether or not they will clean the trail up once they get the road paved? Also, assuming that they will get this done at some point, how is the fishing up there?

      Another group of lakes I am interested in is Talapus/Olallie/Pratt/Island/Rainbow. I hiked to Talapus with a friend on Friday, but we didn’t go any further. Is there good fishing in these lakes, and are any of them rugged enough to keep moderate hikers out?

    • #100989
      Brian Curtis
      Keymaster

      The Middle Fork Snoqualmie Road is only open on weekends. Paving is scheduled to be finished by July 2017. Updates and opening/closing schedules are available here.

      The trail to Snoqualmie Lake from that direction was in great shape last time I hiked it. But it has been many years (or decades) so I should pretty much be ignored on that subject.

      Talapus and Olallie are some of the most visited lakes in the area but the hordes drop down fairly quickly beyond those two lakes. It is a similar situation with Mason Lake and with Snow Lake. Everybody and their pack of dogs hikes to Mason Lake, but there are plenty of lakes beyond to explore. Snow Lake is always worth the hike, but keep going and you leave the majority of people behind. Early in the season you can go to Pratt Lake instead of Island/Rainbow which will open up a bit later. And once you are at Pratt why not go on to Tuscohatchie or maybe Windy and Kaleetan? So many lakes to explore…

      Another good one off I-90 is Granite Mtn. The lookout itself is worth the hike, but there are lakes on the backside you can go fish and you’ll leave most people behind on the mountain.

      On busy weekends those trailheads will fill up and overflow well down the road. Don’t leave anything valuable in your car at any trailhead, but especially at the trailheads right off I-90.

    • #100990
      scottchristiani71
      Participant

      Thanks Brian, good stuff there. I appreciate it.

      Last night I realized that what I need is a good comprehensive map of the area. Is there a good map book that shows the whole region? When I look up different hikes I am getting bits and pieces but I am not seeing the big picture.

    • #100991
      Rich OConnell
      Keymaster

      If you want a printed map, Pargeter maps are really nice.

      http://www.metskers.com/24745/239613/Pargeter-Maps/North-Central-Cascades-by-Pargeter.html

    • #100992
      Brian Curtis
      Keymaster

      I like the Forest Service maps for seeing the big picture. Stop at any ranger station and you can pick up a paper copy. Or you can download digital version from each forest’s web site. There are some examples here.

      Edit: If you are looking for a book the Delorme Atlas is the way to go.

    • #100993
      scottchristiani71
      Participant

      Awesome, thanks guys! A guy at work also busted out with some google satellite maps last night and I was able to get a better idea of the breadth of the whole range. And his dad was an early Trailblazer (Con Mattson). He showed me a lot of lakes, including two that he named after his sisters, Carole and Judy. They are west of Nordrum. Speaking of which…I was looking for Nordrum on the WTA.org site and found a couple of reports, but couldn’t find driving directions. I got the feeling like it was up the same road to lake Snoqualmie that is under construction. Have you ever been up there Brian?

    • #100994
      Brian Curtis
      Keymaster

      Yes to all your questions. Nordrum is up the MidFork (Middle Fork Snoqualmie) road. You start from the same TH as you would for Snoqualmie Lake. Yes, I have been to Nordrum. And Carole and Judy. And I knew Con. He was as nice as they come.

      Your sentence about the naming of Carole and Judy Lakes might be confusing to some readers so just to clarify: Carole and Judy Lakes were named by Con Mattson for his daughters. After Con died we tried to get a nearby unnamed lake officially named for Con but Cons Lake was a tough sell.

    • #100995
      scottchristiani71
      Participant

      Yes, Con’s daughters were Carole and Judy. The lakes were named sometime during WWII…my co-worker, Gerald, was born in ’47 and he said that they were named before he came along. If you look on a detailed map, just south of the middle lake (Judy I think) there are a couple of little potholes. Gerald said that when he was a kid his dad let him name it, “Jerry’s Pothole”

      Good to know about the trailhead! I will definitely be going up there once they get the road fixed. What can you tell me about the trail up there?

    • #100996
      Jim Bartelme
      Participant

      We hiked/fished Dorothy over to Snoqualmie and back last summer. Lots of people get as far as Dorothy and turn around there. Less people as you go over the top. Road is usually in poor condition, the worse the road, the less the people. Weather was hot and windy all days, and even from raft, could not catch anything. There are fish in all the lakes, but catching was really slow in the hot weather. Looking back, I would have stayed away from inlets (thinking in would be cool water) and fished much deeper. These are low elevation lakes and warm up pretty good–great for swimming. So many lakes……….Cheers.

    • #100997
      scottchristiani71
      Participant

      Thanks Jim. Have you ever done Nordrum?

    • #100998
      TeachingTitusToFish
      Participant

      Hi Brian,

      New to this site. Surprised I’ve never come across it before. Anyways we have a trip planned next week to go up and fish Crystal Lake on the backside of Granite. I’ve been told there is a fisherman’s trail down to it from Granite Lookout Trail, but can’t quite find any real info on it. Are you able to tell me where to look for the trail? We’re heading up Talapus/Olallie trail, then bushwhacking over to summit TuskOGranite Mountain, then hitting the saddle over towards Granite Mountain and hopefully find the trail down to Crystal. Any help would be great!

      Thanks!

      @Brian Curtis wrote:

      The Middle Fork Snoqualmie Road is only open on weekends. Paving is scheduled to be finished by July 2017. Updates and opening/closing schedules are available here.

      Another good one off I-90 is Granite Mtn. The lookout itself is worth the hike, but there are lakes on the backside you can go fish and you’ll leave most people behind on the mountain.

      On busy weekends those trailheads will fill up and overflow well down the road. Don’t leave anything valuable in your car at any trailhead, but especially at the trailheads right off I-90.

    • #100999
      Mick Scott
      Participant

      Hey Titus’s fishing friend – re- crystal lk.
      If your familiar with the granite mt trail you’ll be able to visualize this description – it’s not much of a trail so make sure you have a usgs7.5 map just in case. At the top just before the trail goes up the talus and rock to the lookout you’ll be looking NNW through a pass toward Crystal Lk – leave the trail here and walk toward the pass through the heather meadow. You ought to pick it up in there.
      Email me and I can send you a map – tblazermscott@gmail.com

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