The Herald of Everett, Washington
HeraldNet on Facebook HeraldNet on Twitter HeraldNet RSS feeds HeraldNet Pinterest HeraldNet Google Plus HeraldNet Youtube
HeraldNet Newsletters  Newsletters: Sign up | Manage  Green editions icon Green editions

Calendar


Weekend to-do list
HeraldNet Newsletter Delivered to your inbox each week.
Published: Sunday, October 14, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Save a sunny day for a hike to Heather Lake

Gentle climb and great fall color make it an ideal outing for families

  • Heather Lake, shown here at the end of September, is just 30 miles outside Everett; the hike to reach it is a gentle two-mile climb.

    Joe Dyer / The Herald

    Heather Lake, shown here at the end of September, is just 30 miles outside Everett; the hike to reach it is a gentle two-mile climb.

  • Jeff and Anna Sturm of Everett hike with their son, Owen, 2, on the Heather Lake trail in late September.

    Jeff and Anna Sturm of Everett hike with their son, Owen, 2, on the Heather Lake trail in late September.

  • Brothers Jace (left), 6, and Ty Dixey, 7, walk across a bridge on Heather Lake Trail with grandfather Gregg Gottgetreu.

    Joe Dyer / The Herald

    Brothers Jace (left), 6, and Ty Dixey, 7, walk across a bridge on Heather Lake Trail with grandfather Gregg Gottgetreu.

  • The sun is seen from the trail peeking over a ridge.

    Joe Dyer / The Herald

    The sun is seen from the trail peeking over a ridge.

  • Beautiful Heather Lake is the payoff at the end of the trail.

    Joe Dyer / The Herald

    Beautiful Heather Lake is the payoff at the end of the trail.

  • A trail marker, also known as a cairn, stands at the shore of Heather Lake. Cairns usually indicate the presence of a trail, but hikers also make them...

    A trail marker, also known as a cairn, stands at the shore of Heather Lake. Cairns usually indicate the presence of a trail, but hikers also make them for fun.

  • Matt Hart of Tucson, Ariz., takes in the beautiful scenery along Heather Lake Trail.

    Joe Dyer / The Herald

    Matt Hart of Tucson, Ariz., takes in the beautiful scenery along Heather Lake Trail.

Heather Lake is a glacier-carved jewel nestled in the towering cedars beneath Mount Pilchuck's steep northern ridges.
It's easy to forget that the lake is just 30 miles outside Everett: After a gentle two-mile climb to the top of the trail, hikers are greeted with breathtaking views and crisp mountain air.
Heather Lake's noticeable wildlife gives kids something to look forward to on the way up.
Cascades frogs swim in the shallows and small, round-eared animals called pikas can be heard, and sometimes seen, squeaking from their burrows.
The shores are circled with more than a half-mile of winding wooden walkways, leading the way for families to explore meadows filled with horse tails and giant boulders that create a perfect place for lunch.
This easy trail is a great warm-up for new hikers. It's more than four miles round trip, though, so families with small children should consider child carrier backpacks.
Dogs are welcome on this popular hike, too, but keep them on leashes unless they go in the water, which is safe (but cold!) for swimming.
Forestry officials caution that the water may not be safe to drink without a filter, so hikers are encouraged to bring water bottles.
Heather Lake is an ideal fall hike. The changing colors create a beautiful backdrop for a family outing and the trail typically gets snow later than neighboring hikes, forestry officials said.
The road to the trailhead is accessible year-round, although hikers may need showshoes during the snowy months and should be wary of avalanches, especially near the lake's southern shore.
Hikers should always be on the lookout for water and slippery rocks along the trail.
Contact a service center for trail conditions.
Northwest Forest Service passes are required for this hike and can be purchased online or at the Forest Service center in Verlot. Daily passes are $5, annual passes, $30.
Privies are available at the trailhead and near the lake.
Heather Lake
Trail No. 701, Mountain-Loop Highway, outside Granite Falls
Round trip: 4.6 miles
Kid-friendly; dog-friendly
Information and trail conditions: Verlot Public Service Center; 33515 Mountain Loop Highway, Granite Falls; 360-691-7791. Northwest Forest Service passes available at tinyurl.com/ForestPass.
Directions: Follow Mountain Loop Highway east from Granite Falls. After crossing the blue bridge, 1 mile past the Verlot Public Service Center, take the first right onto a gravel road marked "Mount Pilchuck Access." Drive about 1 1/2 miles to the trailhead.
Ashley Stewart: 425-339-3037; astewart@heraldnet.com.






Story tags » Hiking

Share your comments: Log in using your HeraldNet account or your Facebook, Twitter or Disqus profile. Comments that violate the rules are subject to removal. Please see our terms of use. Please note that you must verify your email address for your comments to appear.

You are logged in using your HeraldNet ID. Click here to update your profile. | Log out.

Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.

comments powered by Disqus

HeraldNet highlights

Prep football roundup
Prep football roundup: Photos and stories from week 4 of the high school season
This dog has 9 lives
This dog has 9 lives: A Terrace couple is overjoyed Daisy Mae survived fire
Rising to the top
Rising to the top: Melissa Benton is the new head of Quantum Windows
'Colton's Army'
'Colton's Army': Bothell teen rallies his recruits to fight leukemia