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Trip Report

Silver Lakes

Olympic Peninsula

Trip Report By

Hiked May 1, 2021

Type of Hike

Day hike

Trail Conditions

Trail in good condition

Road

Snow and ice on road

Bugs

No bugs

Snow

Snowfields to cross - could be difficult

More progress was made on the second attempt in 2021 to see the valuable Silver Lakes, but ultimately our quest was foiled by snow. Most of the road to the Silver Lakes Way trail head is clear of snow and obstructions. Drive carefully as the road way is a minefield of pot holes. Snow and ice is only at the trail head, potentially making turning around difficult but a dry space large enough to fit one car exists on the side of the road next to the trail head. We were the only hikers on the trail that day on May 1st.

The first crossing of Silver Creek is obstructed by snow. Jump across the creek at a narrow point just before zee plank. No need to walk the plank... unless you brought along some rum of course. The photo is of the crossing as seen from the return direction. The jump point is to the mossy rock to the top right.

The first 1.5 miles of the trail is covered with intermittent ice. Micro-spikes are required as ice is on some of the steepest sections of the trail. Beyond, a blanket of snow ranging from 1.5 feet to 2.5 feet takes over the trail. Hardy snow warriors trained by the infamous Sub Zero will find the snow is compact in some parts, making passing with boots possible, but strenuous due to the frequent post hole digging. Follow our boot trail, the blazed trees, and the cut trees to stay on the trail.

We turned around approximately 1 mile from the lake at the second Silver Creek crossing at about 3 miles at an elevation of approximately 4,900 feet according to our GPS, making the approach to Silver Lakes more like 4 miles. Shortly before this point the boot path we were following vanished, and the trail became uniformly covered in snow 2 feet deep. Snow bridges exist over the Silver Creek, but none capable of holding any more weight. The best way to cross appears to require climbing down and then up the steep snow banks, then possibly fording the shallow freezing waters of the Silver Creek. Considering this, and the current status of our gear and supplies, this where we turned around. We'll be back.

Beyond this point it appears snow shoes are required to ultimately see the Silver Lakes. In early May, we can not say if you'll find a lake, a sheet of ice, or a snow field, but judging from the flow of Silver Creek I would guess you'll find a lake surrounded by thick snow.

Comments

Matthew.RW on Silver Lakes

Silver lake always takes a little longer to melt than the surrounding ridges because it’s in a valley. Should be much more manageable by early June as we’re already seeing Townsend’s snow melt off this time of year.

Posted by:


Matthew.RW on May 08, 2021 10:22 AM