Trip Report: Pete Lake and Waptus River

On Friday I headed over to Cle Elum to do my long run. I split the morning between the Pete Lake and Waptus River trails.

I started with Pete Lake. The trail is flat, snow-free, and in great condition. It was a calm, cold morning and the lake was glass. I didn’t see another soul from start to finish, other than my dog Maggie and a few bounding deer.

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Reflections in Pete Lake
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Zoomed in on the peaks above Pete Lake. Can anyone name them? (I’m not sure offhand, which is why I’m asking.) Alexei?

After Pete Lake, I drove 10 minutes to the Salmon La Sac trailhead, where I picked up the Waptus River trail. I admit I wasn’t expecting much from this trail, and I primarily chose it because it was low-elevation (snow-free) and not too steep (I needed flatter terrain for today’s run).

Waptus River was a pleasant surprise, much more scenic than I expected. The only issue with the trail is the burn area – there are about a dozen blowdowns across the trail, and they were a minor annoyance to navigate with my dog on leash. However, the burn area isn’t very big and all of the blow-downs are small enough to step over or walk around.

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View of Cooper River at the Salmon La Sac trailhead.
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Blowdowns in the burn.
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Waterfall along the Waptus River trail. It’s possible to get behind the waterfall, and if it were any warmer I would’ve been all in. Might have to come back later in the summer.
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Waptus River rapids

Both of these trails are great early-season choices that offer plenty of miles of snow-free trail.

6 Replies to “Trip Report: Pete Lake and Waptus River”

  1. Did you happen to get as far as the Waptus river ford right before Waptus lake? If so, is it crossable? Would like to get to Waptus lake for backpack trip but am concerned about the ford. Thank you for any info you can provide.

  2. I was there in October – that river right before Waptus Lake is totally fordable – you might want to bring sandals/tevas for comfort. With the snow pack as low as it is – i can’t see it being that much worse than it was in the fall.

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