VERLOT, Wash. — As an owner of a small dog and a lover of the outdoors, I’m always looking for hikes that are also suitable for my smaller four-legged companion. This weekend, I found a great spot for both of us.

Located about an hour and a half outside of Seattle, Heather Lake in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest is a great hike that won’t take you more than half the day, with the drive there and back included.

The hike to the lake is four miles round-trip with a little over 1,000 feet elevation gain. The path is soil, but you’ll encounter areas of rocks and large steps, so be prepared for a leg work out!

My dog Uno is a 12-pound Chihuahua mix and she was able to jump up the steps on her own, she only needed assistance being carried over some of the rockier areas.

Heather Lake trail
Uno, a Chihuahua mix, making her way up the Heather Lake trail.
Hannah Everman

You’ll likely run into lots of other dogs on the trail, so if your dog doesn’t always play well with others – keep that in mind. Most of the dogs we saw were larger and some were off-leash, but overall it was all positive experiences for us.

After about 2 miles straight up, enjoy the view of Heather Lake. It’s nestled in the northeastern slope of Mount Pilchuck. 

The lake is a great place to let your pup take a swim, or to sit peacefully on some of the large rocks and take it all in while eating your lunch.

Uno and I noticed a few people fishing at the lake, so that’s also an option.

Heather Lake
The view of Heather Lake and Mount Pilchuck in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.
Hannah Everman

It took us about two hours to reach the lake and an hour and a half to get back down to the car.

To get to Heather Lake from Seattle, take I-5 north through Everett, to US-2 and then to WA-92 east to Mountain Loop Highway. The trailhead is located off Mountain Loop Highway just pass the Verlot Public Service Center. You can buy a Northwest Forest Service Pass at the center for $5, which you'll need for the hike

Once you’re off the main road, expect about a mile of gravel road and prepare for potholes! Gravel roads are never perfect, but the size of these potholes did catch me by surprise. Use caution and travel slowly and you’ll reach the parking lot in no time.

Heather Lake
The area opens up when you reach Heather Lake.
Hannah Everman