ROUND TRIP: 3.8 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 800 feet
SEASON: May - November
START: Forest Road 6410, Skykomish
PARKING: Northwest Forest Pass
Lake Dorothy is one of the largest bodies of water within the sprawling 414,000-acre Alpine Lakes Wilderness. It’s also one of the easier ones to hike to—just don’t expect to be alone. But there is plenty of room for all, as the trail continues nearly 2 more miles along this large lake’s shoreline. Surrounded by towering virgin forest and shiny rocky ledges scoured by ancient ice flows, Dorothy Lake is a stunning destination. But it’s also a fragile environment, so be sure to practice “Leave No Trace” principles and treat this special area with care. The well-built and maintained trail takes off into primeval timber entering the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Soon afterward come upon cascading Camp Robber Creek, which you’ll cross on a sturdy bridge. Here among polished granite slabs the creek plunges into a deep pool; an inviting spot on a hot afternoon. The trail then begins to climb more steeply reaching Dorothy Lake’s littered with logs outlet at 1.9 miles. Enjoy the view south to Big Snow Mountain. The outlet is a good place to relax, but if you feel compelled to explore more of the lakeshore, continue hiking.
The trail continues on a rocky at times route for nearly two miles along Dorothy’s eastern shoreline. Pass backcountry campsites, ledges perfect for lounging, and plenty of scenic spots along the way. At the south end of the lake, the trail turns west crossing a tumbling inlet creek before steeply ascending to Bear and Deer Lakes. They’re worth exploring too, but out of the realm for hikers looking for a short and easy day.
Backpack photo in this article courtesy of the Washington Trails Association