|Trail Highlights:||Panoramic, mountain, and lake views
|Round-trip Distance:||9.00 miles / 14.50 km
|Required Pass:||Northwest Forest Pass or equivalent for U.S. Forest Service sites
|Location:||Alpine Lakes Wilderness and Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest,
Snoqualmie Pass / Snoqualmie Valley, Washington Central Cascades
|Directions:||From east- and westbound Interstate 90, take Exit 47
From Exit 47, turn left from eastbound/right from westbound onto Tinkham Road/Forest Road 55 (road name may not be posted)
Proceed 0.10 miles/0.16 km to intersection
Turn right onto Denny Creek Road/Forest Road 58, as indicated by signage
Proceed 0.20 miles/0.30 km and turn left to remain on Denny Creek Road/Forest Road 58
Continue on Denny Creek Road/Forest Road 58 for 2.40 miles/3.90 km
Turn left onto Forest Road 5830, as indicated by signage for Melakwa Lake
Proceed 0.50 miles/0.80 km to the parking lot at the end of the road
The path up Melakwa Pass begins on the north end of Upper Melakwa Lake, where the Melakwa Lake Trail ends
The talus-strewn ascent to Melakwa Pass stretches beyond Upper Melakwa Lake. September 02, 2013.
Although the Melakwa lakes are the final — and worthy — day-hiking destination for most, a robust few may climb the stony pass that stretches from Upper Melakwa Lake to the junction of Kaleetan and Chair peaks. However, this scant half-mile/0.80 km scramble is not for the weak of knee or ankle and care should be exercised to avoid rockfalls. No trail leads up the pass, but rather an intermittent, almost imperceptible path of slightly boot-worn rocks through a field of jumbled, basketball- to car-sized boulders. The route works its way up the center of the pass through a series of berms anchored by small trees and patches of soil, which temporarily rest the feet from constantly teetering on angled stones. At the top of the pass, solitude and a rugged alpine view reward the effort.
Chair Peak’s imposing ramparts flank the pass’s eastern slopes. Melakwa Pass, September 02, 2013.
A stream courses through the talus down the center of the pass, sometimes flowing freely over the surface and other times gurgling unseen through the rocks somewhere below.
Appearing from somewhere below, the pass’s playful stream waters lush mosses carpeting its stones before disappearing again. Melakwa Pass, September 02, 2013.
Just below the crest of the pass, soil easier trodden than the boulderfield extends further down the west side of the pass from the last island of trees. Melakwa Pass, September 02, 2013.
The crest of the pass attained, the view telescopes out through the descending northern ridges of Kaleetan Peak and Chair Peak. Just below, the peaks’ cavernous juncture cradles the ever-icy Chair Peak Lake. The dot of a lake in the distance is Gem Lake, set below Wright Mountain. September 02, 2013.
Back down the hard-earned pass, the lakes Melakwa and Low Mountain retreat into the southern distance. September 02, 2013.
Soft earth welcomes the stone-weary hiker on the return to Upper Melakwa Lake. September 02, 2013.