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Lake’s beauty makes braving crowds worthwhile

Craig Romano photo

This popular and easy trail at Lake Dorothy invites mindful hikers to pay extra attention to Leave No Trace practices.

SKYKOMISH VALLEY — One of the largest bodies of water within the sprawling 414,000-acre Alpine Lakes Wilderness, don’t expect too much solitude at Dorothy.
More than likely you’ll be sharing the trail with scores of first time hikers, neophyte backpackers and fledgling anglers. But there’s plenty of room as the trail continues nearly two more miles along this large lake’s shoreline.
Surrounded by virgin forest centuries old and shiny rocky ledges scoured by ancient ice flows, Lake Dorothy would still be a popular destination if the hike were twice as long. Unfortunately the short distance that makes this lake inviting to visitors unenlightened to Leave No Trace principles and the idea of walking lightly on the land. Do your part to help minimize negative impacts on this special place.
The well-built and maintained trail takes off into primeval timber entering the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Soon afterward come upon cascading Camp Robber Creek, which you’ll cross on a sturdy bridge. Here among polished granite slabs the creek plunges into a deep pool; an inviting spot on a hot afternoon. The trail then begins to climb (utilizing rock steps in spots) more steeply to reach Lake Dorothy’s outlet at 1.9 miles. Savor the view south to Big Snow Mountain.
The outlet is a good place to relax, but if you feel compelled to explore more of the lakeshore, continue hiking. The trail continues on an at-times rocky route for nearly two miles along Dorothy’s eastern shoreline. Pass backcountry campsites, ledges perfect for lounging and plenty of scenic spots along the way. At the south end of the lake the trail turns west crossing a tumbling inlet creek before steeply ascending to Bear and Deer Lakes. They’re worth exploring too, but out of the realm for hikers looking for a short and not too difficult day.

Try out this hike
Location: Skykomish Valley
Contact: Skykomish Ranger District, Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest
Land Agency: National Forest Service
Roundtrip: 3.8 miles
Elevation gain: 800 feet
Notes: Northwest Forest pass required; Alpine Lakes Wilderness use permit required May 15—Oct. 31, free, self-issued at trailhead; Dogs permitted on leash; Practice Leave No Trace principles
Directions: From Everett, follow U.S. 2 east for 45 miles. Just before Milepost 46 turn right at sign for “Money Creek Campground” onto the Old Cascade Highway. Proceed for 1.1 miles turning right onto Miller River Road (FR 6410). Then follow road for 9.5 miles to trailhead.

About the author
Craig Romano ( is an award-winning guidebook author. He has written more than 20 books on Northwest 
hiking destinations. Check out his “Day Hiking Central Cascades” (Mountaineers Books) for detailed information on many other spectacular hikes along the U.S. 2 corridor.



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