Backpack to Lake Dorothy to enjoy a quiet lake

Overnight Backpacking Trip to Lake Dorothy

By Bryan Carroll CFMP, NTP, FAFS

July 20, 2021




Our Rating

Central Cascades | Mt Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest

17.11 miles, roundtrip

(This is from what we recorded on a Garmin Fenix 6x

Gain: 2662 ft.

Highest Point: 3205 ft.

Lake Dorothy has always been a lake we've wanted to backpack to, but with less than 2 miles from the trailhead to reach the lake, it made it very accessible to everyone, which made the lake louder than we would like.

However, since the road washed out, there is now an additional 8 miles of hiking to get to the lake. The lake is more quiet than ever, which makes it a wonderful place to backpack.

The lake itself is around 1.5 miles long, which gives you a lot of options to play. If you want to continue the journey to Bear, Deer, and Snoqualmie lakes, then you have plenty of area to explore.

Getting Started

You turn at the Money Creek Campground sign on highway 2. After you go over the train tracks, you'll see road closed signs. You turn right and follow Forest Road 6412 until the barricade. There is only enough room for maybe a dozen cars at the new trailhead.

Right away you'll see the damage to the bridge which shut down the road. You have a 4 mile road walk to reach the true trailhead. There is one small stream crossing along the road.

Once you reach the trailhead, it is only 1.9 miles to the lake with about 800 feet of elevation gain.

The majority of the elevation comes after the bridge crossing around 0.8 miles in. The trail follows the creek for a good distance, and if you look through the trees you can see some really neat pools of water and waterfalls.

Finding the Best Backpacking Site at Lake Dorothy

There are only a few campsites at the beginning of the lake. The first one you come to has quite a bit of room which is perfect for larger groups. However, the wind doesn't blow through there as much, which can lead to lots of annoying bugs.

Halfway along the lake, there is an awesome campsite right down near the water. It has its own private beach and rocks, plus a few sites for tents. This is the best location along the lake.

After that, we camped near the peninsula which provided a nice source of wind to keep the bugs down.

The far side of the lake has a lot more campsites but you are further from the lake. Again, this area is more buggy so settle for these spots last.

Click on images below to see a bigger picture

Practicing LNT Principles, and Giving Back

We really want to encourage everyone to practice LNT principles when they explore these beautiful places. We spent years trying to minimize social impact on these locations, but the cat is out of the bag and these places are easy to find online. So it is our mission to share more about ways to keep these places as pristine as possible.

We also donate 3% of all our profits to organizations supporting the outdoors and working hard to keep these areas protected and safe.

About the author

Bryan Carroll CFMP, NTP, FAFS

Bryan Carroll is a certified Functional Medicine Practitioner and Movement Therapist who helps the outdoors community to reduce injuries and improve their health so they can get back to exploring nature. His big health crisis from mold exposure taught him the importance of finding the root causes to illnesses so you can take back control of your life. He is also the host of the Summit For Wellness Podcast.

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