Granite Lakes and Granite Creek

Trail Highlights:Lake, creek, and mountain views; wildflowers
Round-trip Distance:8.80 miles / 14.20 km (Granite Creek Trail)
11.80 miles / 19.00 km (Granite Creek Connector Trail to Granite Creek Trail)
Location:Middle Fork Snoqualmie Natural Resources Conservation Area,
Snoqualmie Pass / Snoqualmie Valley, Washington Central Cascades

Ancestral lands of the Snoqualmie
  • From east- and westbound Interstate 90, take Exit 34
  • From Exit 34, turn left from eastbound/right from westbound onto 468th Ave. SE and proceed 0.60 miles/1.00 km
  • Turn right onto Middle Fork Snoqualmie Road and proceed 0.90 miles/1.40 km to fork in road
  • At the fork, continue straight onto Lake Dorothy Road and proceed 1.90 miles/3.10 km to the Granite Creek Connector Trail's parking area on the right, marked by signage
    -- OR --
  • At the fork, continue straight onto Lake Dorothy Road and proceed 4.10 miles/6.60 km to the Granite Creek Trail's parking area on the right, marked by signage
  • Required Pass:Discover Pass or equivalent for state recreation sites
    Additional Trail Info:Washington Trails Association (Granite Creek Trail)
    Washington Trails Association (Granite Creek Connector Trail)
    Washington Department of Natural Resources
    Note:This page profiles the trails to Granite Lakes in King County, Washington; other Washington lakes of the same or similar name are located in Asotin, Lewis, Skagit, Spokane, and Yakima counties. The lakes are also not to be confused with Granite Mountain Lakes on the flank of nearby Granite Mountain.

    Lower Granite Lake pools below Thompson Point in the bird’s-eye view from Dirty Harry’s Peak. The Granite Creek Trail approaches the lakes from the valley to the left in this photo.
    Dirty Harry’s Peak Trail,

    Nestled on the back side of towering peaks away from the nearby whir of freeway traffic, Granite Lakes (consisting of Upper Granite Lake and Lower Granite Lake) offer a sense of the backcountry with relative ease of access. The main trail to the lakes is the Granite Creek Trail, which, as its name implies, traces Granite Creek to its headwaters at the bases of Web Mountain and Dirty Harry’s Peak. The Granite Creek Connector Trail begins at an alternate trailhead along the same road approximately 2.50 miles/4.00 km before the main trailhead and offers a longer route through quiet lowland forest. It joins the Granite Creek Trail approximately 1.50 miles/2.40 km from the main trailhead and adds about 3.00 miles/4.80 km to the total round-trip distance. Both climb moderately but consistently through dim, second-growth forest that occasionally parts to reveal the tips of distant peaks. Mammoth tree stumps along the trails hint at what the forest once was before it was felled in the mid-1900s. Abundant wildflowers throughout add interest until the view finally opens on the approach to the lakes. Lower Granite Lake remains mostly hidden from view, but Upper Granite Lake pools placidly at the trail’s end beneath the eves of Web Mountain and Dirty Harry’s Peak.

    The Granite Creek Trail is relatively popular with other hikers; the Granite Creek Connector Trail offers solitude for a portion of the hike in exchange for a longer route. Lush undergrowth sweeps the Granite Creek Trail, which, when wet with rain or dew, will result in dampened clothing.  Regardless, do prepare for wet feet, as wide streams cross the Granite Creek Trail near the lakes in spring and early summer and then it meanders through a brushy interlake bog before reaching its destination. Once there, several spots of high ground along Upper Granite Lake’s shore provide vantage points from which to enjoy the wilderness views.

    Mixed forest characterizes the Granite Creek Connector Trail. Granite Creek Connector Trail, Washington.
    In contrast with the mostly deciduous woodland of the Granite Creek Connector trail, second-growth conifer forest lines the Granite Creek Trail. Granite Creek Trail, Washington.
    The Granite Creek Trail never strays far from sight or sound of its boulder-strewn namesake, Granite Creek.
    Granite Creek Trail, Washington.
    Here and there, forest clearings along both trails offer glimpses of distant peaks. Granite Creek Trail, Washington.
    Much of the Granite Creek Trail wends though closely walled underbrush. Granite Creek Trail, Washington.
    A host of spring and summer wildflowers populates the waysides of both trails, including, first column from left, fireweed (Chamerion angustifolium) (top) and Pacific bleeding hearts (Dicentra formosa) (bottom); second column, leafy mitrewort (Mitellastra caulescens) (top), common self-heals (Prunella vulgaris) (center), and fringecups (Tellima grandiflora) (bottom); third column, pioneer violets (Viola glabella) (top), herb-Roberts, or, stinky Bobs (Geranium robertianum) (center), and largeleaf avens (Geum macrophyllum) (bottom); fourth column, salmonberries (Rubus spectabilis) (top) and Pacific waterleaves (Hydrophyllum tenuipes) (bottom); fifth column, Pacific trilliums (Trillium ovatum) (top), bull thistles (Cirsium vulgare) (center), and thimbleberries (R. parviflorus) (bottom); sixth column, spotted, or, orange jewelweeds (Impatiens capensis) (top), oxeye daisies (Leucanthemum vulgare) (upper center), scarlet paintbrushes (Castilleja miniata) (lower center), and woodland beardtongues (Nothochelone nemorosa) (bottom); seventh column, rose spiraeas, or, hardhacks (Spiraea douglasii) (top), western pearly everlastings (Anaphalis margaritacea) (center), and cut-leaved foamflowers (Tiarella trifoliata) (bottom); eighth column, Canada goldenrods (Solidago lepida) (top) and Scouler’s fumeworts (Corydalis scouleri) (bottom); and, ninth column, creeping buttercups (Ranunculus repens) (top) and youths-on-age, or, piggyback plants (Tolmiea menziesii) (bottom). Granite Creek Trail and Granite Creek Connector Trail, Washington.
    Near the lakes, Dirty Harry’s Peak looms above. Granite Creek Trail, Washington.
    In spring and early summer, be prepared to ford streams crossing the trail, especially near the end where Upper Granite Lake scatters into Lower Granite Lake. Granite Creek Trail, Washington.
    At the trail’s end, Web Mountain caps the view above Upper Granite Lake. Granite Creek Trail, Washington.

    © 2023-2024 Anthony Colburn. Images may not be used or reproduced in any form without express written consent.


    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.