Peek-A-Boo Lake

I joined friends for a few days in Darrington over the Memorial Day Weekend. We kicked around a hike for Saturday. I hiked the trail to Peak-a-boo Lake on July, 8 1989. Just a mere 26 years ago. The start of the trail was overgrown. Previous rain and a heavy dew left me soaked a short way into that hike. I made it to the meadow where the snow was suddenly several feet deep. Visibility was minimal. The trail was nowhere to be seen under all the snow. I chose to turn back rather than head downhill looking for the lake. Now, 26 years later, I still had not made it to the lake. Time for another try.

By mid morning we were on our way. A short drive to Darrington then south on the Mountain Loop Highway. Just before crossing the Sauk River we turned right on a gravel road. Two more right turns at junctions and after 5.6 miles we reached the small trailhead parking lot at 3200'. There was one other car in the lot. We were on the trail at 12:10 pm. A little later than my usual hikes. The start of the hike has changed since 1989. No more brush on the current route.

We started in an old clear cut but soon reached old growth forest. Some big trees back there. Not huge but pretty big. We saw early spring wildflowers on this trip. Lots of trillium in bloom. Some wild ginger near the start. Some yellow violets and bleeding hearts too. Farther along we had some very nice marsh marigolds in bloom. The trail is in pretty good shape. In places the tread has sloughed and become narrow. In a few places some recent work has widened the trail back to what it once was. Only a few logs are down. None were a problem. A couple other groups caught up with us on the way up. We passed one of them again. They were looking to camp in the meadow.

Though this is a short hike it does have some steady elevation gain. More than I recalled. We were in the clouds much of the way and when we reached the meadow there was no views out to Mt. Pugh and Whitechuck Mountain. From the high point we dropped a little to the big meadow. This is where the marsh marigolds were blooming. Next came the descent to the lake. The 400' drop starts at a moderate grade then gets steeper farther down. No more switchbacks, more just down the slope. We arrived at the lake to find one group there. We headed left and found a good campsite for our whole group of eight.

The lake was clear at first then a wall of white clouds blew down the lake. The lake disappeared. I guess that's why it's called Peek-a-boo Lake. Now you see it, now you don't. It was much colder at the lake too. Short sleeves gave way to a puffy jacket. After lunch we headed over to the outlet. There is a good sized waterfall coming out of lake. We warmed up quickly with the climb back up to the meadow. Still no views out and we were soon heading downhill.

We were pretty slow coming up with breaks and lots of photo stops. It was 2:30 when we reached the lake. The trip down was much faster. We had a barbecue to attend and that was our inspiration. We reached the cars at about 5:00 pm. The stats are listed as about 5 miles round trip with 1500' of elevation gain. It felt longer than that. As has been the case this year, we saw only a handful of other hikers. I have had a lot of solitude on the trail. It was nice to finally see the lake more than a quarter century after my first try. I still have not seen the views of peaks from the meadow. I guess I'll have to come back one more time. It was a short trip but had some very nice old growth forest, a big meadow, wildflowers, and a lake. Not bad for a short trip.

Gang At Trailhead
Very Green
Misty March
Waterlogged Trillium
Big Tree
Moss Everywhere
Misty Meadow
Twin Marsh Marigolds
At Peek-a-boo Lake
Clouds Roll In
Lake Disappears
Misty Trees
Peek-a-boo Views
Lake Outlet
Outlet Waterfall
Still Cloudy Atop Lake
Perfect Marsh Marigolds
Viewless Meadow
Pond Is Now Clear
Close Up
Ghost Tree
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2015