Over the past few years I have learned to avoid Lake Twenty-Two. Though the lake and views are a good reward for the amount of work you must put in, the trail is often overcrowded. With rain in the forecast I thought it might be the perfect day to enjoy all the fall colors it has to offer. My hope was it would come without the mass of people that go along with it.
I felt surprised to arrive at the trailhead at 7:00 am and not see another person. As expected after our crazy weather this past week, the Lake Twenty-Two trail was quite wet. But, being such a well-maintained trail there is nothing to worry about. Some sizable puddles step around and a couple of areas where the trail was more of a creek than anything else. If you are form the PNW then a day like this won't bother you a bit on such a well cut trail.
I was quite happy to make it to Lake Twenty-Two walk all the way around without seeing another person. It was the perfect ending to summer and a nice intro to the fall hiking season.
In true fashion to this area of Mountain Loop Highway, the way back down had far more people. It speaks to how popular this place has become. Even with rain pouring down I was steeping around people every 40 feet.
Come early if you want parking. On a nice day it is usually gone by 8 am.
Lake Twenty-Two is a hike I used to do at least once per year. Not only is it great for the whole family (children 6 – 8+) but its reward is a clear alpine lake set in a large basin. For a few miles and some moderate elevation gain it is easy and enjoyable.
Most years Lake Twenty Two sports snow late into the year. But, as another reminder of the warm year, we are having, there was not a trace. It was a nice treat to have a clear walkway around the lake. That is not something I have gotten here often.
All in all, Lake 22 is a great destination for a quick hike with a lot of payout. Avoid it during the weekend if you can, the parking lot and trail can get very crowded.