Cottonwood and Mirror Lakes

We were headed to Denny Creek for the day, but the rain was so cruddy and cold we thought we might have better luck on the east side of Snoqulamie Pass. Lots of the time the rain gets stuck west of the Cascades and there’s sun to be found if you keep going. We didn’t get sun, but we did find a great little hike with a couple of beautiful alpine lakes in only 2.2 miles of hiking! Score!!

The first half mile or so was technically a road, but looked more like a creek bed. Given that we were 20 minutes of driving from the freeway, with only 2 adults and 6 kids we figured the extra walk was worth saving our vehicles. When we got to the trailhead, it wasn’t officially marked, but some nice person had made some creative nature signs for us. We appreciated these since it was slightly confusing. The road continued up past here, and the trail didn’t look well-used, but the little turn-out/parking lot directly across from the trailhead was a good clue too.

Lots of beautiful fall colors everywhere, and a mildly neglected trail for the next little bit which made for a feeling of adventure for the little legs. We made it to Cottonwood Lake and had a quick look around, but when the whining started figured we’d better press on to Mirror Lake before we ran out of energy.

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So glad we did! This one was even prettier. Crystal clear alpine water, cool rocky spires encased in the clouds, lots of great options for lunch and exploring. Definitely coming back for a swim some day when it’s hot. Today was not hot. Cue the cold hands and wet feet.

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We stopped for hot chocolate in North Bend though, so I think they’ll still come next time.

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