I've always wanted to visit Spade Lake, ever since I read in two separate guidebooks that it is one of the prettiest in Washington State. It is in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness and is a 13 mile hike in. The first 9 miles are mostly flat, to Waptus Lake, then there is a steep hill to gain over 2000 feet to the lake.
I started Thursday evening from the Salmon La Sac trailhead near Cle Elum Lake and hiked in a mile or two to a small campsite on a tiny creek. The next morning it was another half hour to get to the Waptus River.
When you get near to Waptus Lake, you must cross the river. The bridge has been out for some time, necessitating a ford of the river at this point.
Although up to knee deep, the current was not too strong. Nice to be able to get pictures from the middle of a river.
Shortly thereafter, you arrive at Waptus Lake, at about 3000 feet.
After walking along the edge of the lake for a mile or so, you run into your junction.
From there it is steeply up. I hit this junction just before noon on a hot August day. Not a place for those who don't like it hot. Not a lot of views for a while, but eventually you can see down to the lake and the valley just hiked up.
Higher up the trail contours to the left with much up and down and views of peaks.
Getting to this lake is like climbing a mountain with multiple false summits. You keep thinking it is around this corner or ridge, only to find another uphill. Eventually, though you are rewarded.
I found an excellent campsite near the outlet and shielded from most views. Good sites are not easy to find here.
If you wanted to hike to Venus Lake above, the route lies somewhere up this.
It was a nice sunset
And a long hot hike back along the Waptus River the next day