Pete Lake is located in the Alpine Lakes region of the Cascade Mountains. The trailhead is near the west end of Cooper Lake and an easy five mile hike on a well maintained trail with elevation changes along the way less than 250 feet.
The pictures below were taken the first week of July 2009 on a scouting trip with King Asher. Click on the photos to enlarge.
The river flowing from Pete Lake to Cooper Lake.
Reaching the east end of Pete Lake, one is greeted by the scene below.
The east end of the lake is as far as most day hikers travel and has the most campsites. Horses are tied in this area as well. No grass is found very near here.
Travel along the north side of the lake and numerous other campsites are scattered along the way, as this is a popular weekend and holiday destination, but sees few people on weekdays. About halfway across the north side a small meadow is found on both sides of the trail.
This is a suitable llama campsite, already established.
The view from this site is fine too.
Head around to the west side and numerous other campsites are found. Another small lush meadow exists next to the lake. Little grass is found farther away from the shoreline. A similar untouched meadow exists on the other side of the inflow stream nearby.
One can wade out to the two islands from this side.
Continuing on the Pete Lake trail one can hike to the Pacific Crest Trail that travels along the mountains seen in the first Pete Lake photo above. One river crossing is required, calf deep and swift moving but is not difficult. A spectacular waterfall is encountered along the trail to the top, about 50 feet across, cascading into a steep rapid creek. A bridge crossing is next to the falls.
Reaching the ridgeline, one can see for miles.
This is looking back down upon the Pete Lake basin, where the day hike began.
Looking the other direction, peaks still loom.
Branch off the Pacific Crest Trail and Spectacle Lake appears on the other side of the ridge -- and yes, it is spectacular. Most people camp on the peninsula below. (Widescreen resolution required to see composite photo arrangement.)
Noteworthy for this pack trip is the limited grass available for the llamas in the immediate vicinity of the lake. There are a couple large meadows some distance from the lake. Bringing some supplemental feed is recommended otherwise your stakeout options will be more limited. Browse is available along the trails during day hikes.
Also noteworthy are the widespread berry bushes, especially from Pete Lake westward. Lots of berries should be available. Varied wildflowers are in bloom Spring through Autumn.
This is a wilderness area and our group size is limited to 12, which includes stock. A wilderness pass is required. An annual pass is recommended but one-time passes are available.
Don't forget the bug spray for both your llamas and yourselves. The mosquitoes are bad at the trailhead and about the first mile and a half in.
Take the Roslyn/Salmon la Sac exit (Bullfrog Rd) off I90, just East of the rendezvous location, drive north on Highway 903 (Salmon La Sac Rd) travelling along Cle Elum Lake. Continue about 15 miles North of Roslyn and turn left on Cooper Lake Road No. 46 (approx. 1.5 miles past Red Mountain Campground). Cross the Cle Elum River and drive about five miles to the Cooper Lake junction and turn right on road No. 113/4616 (follow the signs to Pete Lake).
Trailhead coordinates: 47.43431N, 121.18711W
August 29, 2009 update: A fire broke out near Spectacle Lake and the Pacific Crest Trail near Spectacle Lake between Park Lakes and Lehman Meadow has been closed.
September 1, 2009 update: The campfire restriction has been lifted, but the PCT near Spectacle Lake is still closed.
September 8, 2009 update: The fire is out and the smoke has cleared, but the PCT near Spectacle Lake has not been re-opened yet.