Hiking to Lake TwentyTwo
Nestled in the mountains of the North Cascades, Lake Twentytwo is one of the most popular hikes along the Mountain Loop Highway. The hike is 5.4 miles round-trip with a 1,500 ft. elevation gain, making it suitable for most families and children. Not only is the hike is notable for the lake, but also for the wetlands, mountain views, old-growth rainforests, and meandering creeks that you pass through on the way up. Located just an hour drive away, It’s an easy hike to get to from the Tye Haus making it a perfect escape.
We started our hike before the sun came up, to beat both the crowds and the mid-summer heat. The trail began slowly from the trailhead on a well maintained path, climbing gently through the old growth western red cedars and western hemlocks for the first half a mile or so until we reached a bridge crossing Twentytwo Creek. We stopped here for some time to take photos of the impressive waterfall that ran below us, even splashing a bit of the water on our faces to keep cool for the rest of the hike.
After hiking for 1.5 miles, we began to leave the shade of the forest to start our climb up the talus slope. The trail climbed up several switch backs, becoming steeper and steeper each turn. This part of the trail was one of the hardest because of the rapid elevation gain and rocky slope you have to tread on to continue up. However, this part rewarded us with clear views of Whitehorse Mountain and Three Fingers in the distance as well as a sweeping view of the valley floor below. At 2.1 miles, we re-entered the forest, happy to be back in the shade of the lush rainforest as the trail returned the Twentytwo Creek once more. The trail continued for .6 more miles, climbing at a relaxed rate until we reached the bridge over Lake Twentytwo’s outflow. For a moment we all stopped, taking in the view of the sheer northern face of Mount Pilchuck. The water of the lake was perfectly still reflecting the mountain, which provided for an extraordinary backdrop.
We spent a good amount of time here taking photos as well as dipping our feet into the lake to cool off from the sun and rest our legs. We continued on around the lake on a mile long loop where we were able to see and hear waterfalls cascading off Mount Pilchuck. At the other side of the lake we decided to eat a quick snack on the lake’s shore before we continued back around and down the mountain. Other hikers had decided to do the same, and even some more adventurous others used nearby rocks to jump into the lake.
After taking it all in, we started our descent back down the mountain, sad to leave such a beautiful place but eager to get a full meal in our bellies. On our way home we stopped at Sky Deli, located just a few minutes down the road from the Tye Haus off Highway 2. We heard numerous good reviews from others about their food, so we were curious to try it out. The ladies working the deli were very friendly and quickly made our sandwiches according to our orders. We devoured our sandwiches, completely satisfied with our delicious and well-deserved meal. With full bellies and exhausted bodies we were all eager to nap, so we were happy to return home to the Tye Haus to recover for another day of fun.