Waterfalls, wildflowers, sheltering forests, mountain views and an alpine lake are offered on this well-maintained trail. At the lake, enjoy the sights and relax for a while. If you backpacked in, stay at the campsites for a sunrise and sunset on the lake.
The Annette Lake Trail begins just to the right of an information kiosk and the Asahel Curtis Nature Trail. Start down the trail into the forest of Douglas fir, hemlock and cedar. Listen to the sound of Humpback Creek, and in just 0.2 miles, cross over it, pausing here to take in one of the best tumbling falls in Washington. The noise can often drown out any conversation!
After the bridge, the trail continues through the forest and passes into an open area, crossing under powerlines, then crossing the Iron Horse Trail at 1.2 miles from the trailhead. The trail now begins a steady elevation gain through the forest with occasional small water crossings that are often surrounded by wildflowers taking advantage of the cool spray. You continue to gain most of the elevation for this hike over the next 1.5 miles. The trail opens up as you traverse several talus slopes offering views of Granite Mountain to the north and Humpback Mountain to the west. These open slopes are also good places to see trillium and glacier lilies coming up through the receding snow of late spring.
After the last talus slope you enter the forest for a fairly flat hike to the north shore of Annette Lake. From the lake's edge you can take in Abiel Peak to the southwest and Silver Peak to the east, as well as a waterfall descending into the lake's east shore. The camping area is just a short walk to the east.
If you have the time or energy, explore the Asahel Curtis Nature Trail when you return to the trailhead. This 0.5-mile loop is a great one for your camera. The two bridges near the beginning of the trail go over Humpback Creek as the trail leads you through moss-hung trees, swamps of giant skunk cabbage and interpretive signs.
WTA Pro Tip: Good places to stop for after-hike socializing and talk about your just completed hike or other adventures include the North bend Bar and Grill, 145 E. North Bend way and Stan's Barbecue in Issaquah, 58 Front Street. Both offer good after-hike food and beverages.