Set off onto a trail that offers scenic views of mountains, rivers and gorgeous wildflowers by travelling along the Gold Creek Trail. The trail presents hikers with little elevation gain and is a great go-to destination for hikers and backpackers looking to avoid the summer’s lower snow levels. Set off from the Gold Creek Pond parking lot and follow the signs around the pond towards the Gold Creek trail. The trail merges onto a gravel road for roughly .5 miles, but don’t be discouraged by the brief boredom. Once you reach the Gold Creek trailhead you will be instantly be surrounded by quintessential Washington Wilderness.

©Melissa Farage

Follow Gold Creek trail as it plunges into the forest, surrounding hikers with lofty evergreens and lush edible underbrush, including strawberries and huckleberries. Hikers are tempted by the sound of the rushing Gold Creek, and after only a few tenths of a mile are offered their first glimpse of the scenic river valley. After several bridged creek crossings the trail dips down to run alongside the Gold Creek, offering access to rocky beaches and stunning views of the curling water. The trail crosses several smaller un-bridged creeks, promising a wet crossing or a makeshift log bridge (if you plan on hiking to the end of the trail, just get your shoes wet as this is only a taste of what is to come). After curling through the thick forest, the trail suddenly opens up into the remnants of an avalanche zone. Hikers can find old growth trees snapped over like toothpicks, demonstrating the power of the winter hazard.

©Melissa Farage

Follow the newly-maintained trail and marvel at the power of the vanished snow as you pass through the avalanche zone. After a brief jaunt along a forested plateau, you will find yourself greeted with another obstacle. Roughly 4.3 miles from the trailhead, the Gold Creek Trail crosses Gold Creek itself, meaning that hikers will have to get a little wet to discover the rest of the trail (highly encouraged). After crossing Gold Creek, the trail winds up a small hill and down again to plunge into a second, smaller creek ford. The trail then climbs over rocky outcroppings and through thick forests, offering numerous small creek crossings. The trail ends with a sign that marks the unmaintained trail to Joe Lake and Alaska Lake. Glimpse the beautiful mountain meadow before adventuring onward or following the trail home.

©Melissa Farage

Difficulty: moderately easy

Variety: Out and Back

Distance: 5.3 miles

Passes/Permits: NW Forest Pass

Open to: Hikers, dogs

Applicable Maps: Green Trails: #207 Snoqualmie Pass, #207S Snoqualmie Pass

Facilities at Trailhead: privy

Driving Directions: From I-90 east take Exit 54. Turn left to go under the freeway. Follow Gold Creek Road for .9 miles. Take a left and follow the road .5 miles to reach the Gold Creek Pond parking lot.


©Melissa Farage


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