The trail to Annette Lake is a popular one during the summer.
Its easy to access location just off I-90 and close proximity to Seattle, Bellevue, Issaquah and all that makes it a popular choice for many hikers.
On November 10, 2012, a group of us make our first trek to the lake under skies of gray and flakes of white. With a minimal amount of snow accumulation on the trail and a minimal amount on the slopes above the trail, this was a safe choice for that date.
However, as the winter solstice approaches, storms arrive and snow accumulations begin to grow, the risk of avalanches along this route also increase. Be aware of the avalanche risks (and know how to interpret the snow conditions and the avy reports) if you even consider making this a winter destination.
The lake sits in a nice cirque, surrounded by tall peaks of the central Cascade Mountains. Hiking the trail in the summer takes you through a number of open brush and talus slopes... winter recreationists will immediately recognize these as avalanche chutes and can't help but to consider the potential for danger.
Don't let me scare you... it's a great lake with beautiful scenery that is well worth the time and effort to visit. Once the snow is gone, the largest risk is probably a sprained ankle.
The route starts off with a mild grade as you ascend to the Iron Horse/John Wayne trail. The route to Lake Annette continues to head upwards, at an increasing rate for the next mile before flattening out for the talus slope crossings and finally the lake itself.
A number of campsites exist at the lake, but honestly I'm not sure what the requirements are for camping up there. Please follow the rules (whatever they happen to be).
We had a great outing and really enjoyed the waterfalls, the view across the Humpback Creek valley and the beauty of the lake -- even though the weather was much less favorable than we had expected.
Round trip was about 7.75 miles and about 2,100 feet of elevation gain.
Go. Hike. Enjoy.
Here are my favorite images from the day, followed by a route map from the gps machine.
PS: A trip report for Sumas Mountain should be coming in the next week or two.