I had attempted the Kelcema Lake snowshoe once before this winter. But, the weather hay shifted on me. It got warm early and the snow disappeared. Being cooped up for most of the winter, it seemed like a second attempt would be the perfect first outing in a while.
The snow at this point had melted enough that the deer creek gate was open. You could drive two miles or so up the road that the snowshoe follows. After these first two miles, even for a little late in the year the snow was constant all the way to lake Kelcema. But, it was quite slushy and often slid out from under my snowshoes. Especially near the post-holes left by previous hikers.
Even on a sunny Saturday, I only ran into one other solo hiker and a group of tourists along the snowshoe route. This allowed for a silent and enjoyable romp through a cascade winter wonderland. Not something you will get very often along Mountain Loop Highway.
Along the road, there are several creek crossings. Right now they are far more annoying than dangerous. Yet, as snowmelt continues, they looked as though they could start to pose some risk. It did not seem to me that lake Kelcema would be a good spring or fall hike. Best to reserve this one for snowshoeing or a sunny winter day. When the road ends there is a short walk through the woods to get to the lake. It is not hard but I did need my map to navigate.
Arriving at Lake Kelcema it was in a thick white cloud, along with the massive peak that towers over its shores. Despite the lack of view it was refreshing to sit near the lake and take in a few cool breaths of fresh air. I had the lake to myself while I enjoyed some warm cider spiked with a hint of rum… After 15 minutes a group of tourists plodded up on their snowshoes. That was my queue and I left.
While it is not the most spectacular place I have ever seen, it made a good easy day out. It is a good alternative to nearby Big Four Ice Caves snowshoe if you are looking for more privacy.