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Great Lake Hikes: 5 Family Hikes to Mountain Lakes in Western Washington

Kid-friendly hikes for swimming, picking berries and exploring trails

Lauren Braden
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Published on: August 02, 2022

Great Lake Hikes: 5 Family Hikes to Mountain Lakes in Western Washington

Best-hikes-to-lakes-Washington-families-kids-Dorothy-Lake-Highway-2
Photo:
Dorothy Lake. Credit: Amenokami/Flickr CC

2. Dorothy Lake, Highway 2

Distance: 3.5 miles round trip, 800 feet gained in elevation; Northwest Forest Pass required to park

Info: Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest, WTA’s trip reports, or call 425-888-1421

Kids will love: the many trail structures on this hike, from steps to bridges

Description: The perfect lake hike has two requirements: irresistible water for swimming and an access trail just difficult enough to work up a sweat along the way. This sparkling mountain gem in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness offers both. What it doesn’t deliver is solitude. Though at 2 miles long, the lake’s shoreline offers plenty of room for everyone.

All of those boots have persuaded the Forest Service to keep the trail in tip-top shape, with well-built stair-steps and a boardwalk. After about a mile, the trail enters wilderness and crosses Camp Robber Creek. From the sturdy bridge here you’ll spy the creek plunging into a refreshing swimming hole, which makes a great pit stop on sweltering days. Hike on another half of a mile or so to sprawling Lake Dorothy. A spur trail to the lake’s outlet takes you to a giant log jam that offers the best photo op of the lake as well as access for wading in. The main trail continues on a high path along the lake’s eastern shore, which is interspersed with short side trails down to established campsites, picnic spots and access points for taking a dip.

Directions: Take U.S. Highway 2 east past the town of Gold Bar. Just before milepost 46, look for the turnoff to Money Creek Campground and make a right onto Old Cascade Highway. Drive 1.1 miles, then turn right onto Miller River Road (FR 6412). From here, it is 9.5 miles to the road’s end and trailhead on gravel, though the road isn’t rough and the time passes quickly from the backseat when peering into the woods for a glimpse of Sasquatch.

Next up: Bagley Lakes Loop

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