Snow Lake is one of the most popular hikes in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Its relative ease compared to more difficult hikes and prime location just off I-90 make it attractive and attainable to most hikers. Keep in mind, it's still over seven miles round trip and just under 2,000 feet of elevation gain.
Before the hike even gets started, you’re already greeted with mountain views. Start your trip by heading to the north side of the Alpental Ski Resort parking lot. Right off the bat, you quickly gain elevation the initial half mile, but it does level out some. This hike is a fantastic mix of trees and wide open views.
At just under two miles, the trail splits; head straight for Source Lake, and take a hard right for Snow Lake. This is also when the switchbacks begin. The views get better as you gain elevation. You know you're close to the lake when you see a sign indicating you've entered the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Just a couple of downhill switchbacks takes you into the lake basin.
There is some rocky shoreline to explore as well as some overnight camping options. Enjoy the break from your hike, and keep in mind that you still need to go back up the saddle to head back home.