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Alpinejo.tripod.com: Backcountry Trails Guide
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Washington Backcountry Trails

Where the easy trail starts

A average sized fish!




Derrick Lake

Derrick Lake

Definition of terms below
Location: Alpine Lake Wilderness 
Directions: Head east on I-90, take exit 34 go to Edgewick Road, turn right on to Middle Fork Snoqualmie River road No 56
Difficulty: Strenuous
Elevation +/- 3000 ft elevation gain
Distance: 13+ miles
Rating: 10 out of 10
Fishing: Great, Take a raft the lake is big
Scenery: Alpine lakes
Map: Printable Topo Map


Derrick Lake is great, it was all bushwhacking to the lake shore.

If you are looking for solitude this is the place. I did not see another soul for the 3 days I was there. There is an easy way to get here and a hard way. I choose the hard way, bushwhacking up the outlet creek from the North Fork of the Snoqualmie River.

If your heading to Derrick Lake the easy route would probably be via Snow lake and on down. My route I scrambled up a ridge, slid down a few cliffs and then meandered around until I came across the lake ( 8+ hour scramble, I ended up spending the night on a ridge nearby and enjoyed a great view of the sun setting, before I could get into the lake basin). On my way out I headed down the Derrick Lake outlet, Cripple Creek, (2 hours, easier then going up) if your wondering which creek to follow up it is a big one just down form the parking lot, I parked at a Dingford Creek trailhead for a Hester/Myrtle Lakes. Going down the outlet was a little rough and there is one waterfall in a gorge type setting you have to navigate down or up depending on if your coming or going. (You may what to take 20 or so feet of rope, to help you get up it or to help get your backpack and gear up it) 

The views are great once you get out of the trees. The only way I knew someone else had been here was a newspaper from 1993, slightly weathered. I enjoyed some great fishing, and sun bathing in the ole' Explorer' 2 man raft.

If you enjoy bushwhacking and solitude Derrick Lake is a great place. Which ever way you go it will be worth it. The lake and the surroundings are awesome and the fishing--- out of this world.

Fishing was like an old wise tail--every lure I put on I ended up catching a fish. It was truly a remarkable experience. 

Do it again? Yes, 

We tried it again in Oct 2001-
We parked at the Dingford Creek Trailhead and headed down the trail to the Snoqualmie River crossed the bridge and then headed west on the trail to Cripple Creek. (If you cross the Cripple Creek bridge and about 80 yards further is a nice trail branching off, it will take you all the way to the falls). We did not find this trail until our way out, so we spent the morning bushwhacking up the left side of Cripple Creek to the waterfalls--a bit tougher! We scaled the rock walls to the ridge near Elbow Lake we could look across at Lower Derrick Lake and see the all of the new snowfall -we ran out of time before we could round the rock face to drop into the lakes basin...darn it. We had a great time bushwhacking and rock scrambling in some beautiful country--my little chesapeake bay retriever did awesome--we had to navigate 10 inch wide rock ledges with 50+foot complete drop offs- to crossing the logs across the creek - to scrambling down dried up creek drainages that had some knarly vertical sections. 

We headed up to the Dutch Miller Gap trailhead to see how the road was doing. The road is still a bit rough and some of the water troughs are 30-40 feet long and 18+ inches deep.. no sweet in the ole Toyota PU. We did have to clean off the road in the last section, a 24 inch dia. log and some boulders had managed to find a resting place in the middle of the road.

No one else was out hiking this day on the Middle Fork--it may have been that it was raining all day and the wind was howling--maybe that was it.

Please Note: There is not a trail to these lakes, it may be a dangerous adventure if you are not an experienced backcountry nut and/or don't have the correct equipment.

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Although Alpinejo.tripod.com provides backcountry trail reports, you are responsible for your own safety. We will not accept any responsibility for injuries or rescues that may take place after reading this information.

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