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Hike the Necklace Valley Trail to Jade Lake

Skykomish, Washington



16 miles

Elevation Gain

3200 ft

Route Type



Added by Katie

Wildflowers, brightly colored fungi, and berry bushes abound on this beautiful trail that leads you through a vibrantly green temperate rainforest before climbing steeply into beautiful and somewhat snow-covered sub-alpine surroundings. In the springtime, overgrown sections of trail, downed trees, and snow at higher elevations turn away the crowds that can usually be found in this area during the peak hiking season. With a bit of extra effort and some routefinding ability, you can have this beautiful place all to yourself.

This hike is definitely one of our all-time favorites. The first time we did it was in August 2015 and due to the exceptionally mild winter that year, fall was already beginning to show its colors. We wanted to see it again in the springtime when everything was in bloom, so we decided to go again as soon as the trailhead became accessible.

This hike is beautiful, but it is accordingly crowded when conditions are good. If you are planning to make this trip in the summer, expect to share the area with several other hikers. There are only two or three campsites at Jade lake, but there are many more available if you keep following the trail south towards Mt. Hinman. This area provides access to Tank lakes, La Bohn lakes, and much more beautiful scenery if you are up for some scrambling - routes are pretty well marked with cairns.

We called the skykomish ranger station ((360) 677-2414) for a report on trail conditions - mostly to ensure that the trailhead was accessible. Making this trip before the typical summer hiking season has begun means that you will likely have to navigate around some downed trees, through some overgrown sections of trail, and over several patches of snow. However, we had the lake entirely to ourselves. We had planned to venture beyond Jade lake (our ultimate goal was Tank lakes) but wet snow and progressively heavy rainfall turned us back. We woke up Sunday morning to thick fog, which affirmed the previous day's decision.

**To Access the Trailhead:

From Hwy 2, turn south onto Foss River Rd. NE - which is just east of the Skykomish ranger station and 14 miles west of the Steven's Pass Ski Resort. After 2.5 miles, the paved road ends and is replaced with the moderately-potholed gravel of Forest Service Development Rd. #68 . At 3.7 miles, you will come to a fork in the road - keep right here and continue on for another 0.6 miles before making the first left into a small parking lot for the trailhead.

*Note #1: Google Maps will tell you that you've reached the trailhead at the fork in the road - don't be fooled, keep to the right, and continue on for another mile or so.

*Note #2: If you keep left at the fork and follow NF #6830, you will eventually reach the Tonga Ridge Trail, which also provides access to the Deception Creek trail.

Hiking the Necklace Valley Trail

Display your NW Forest Pass on your vehicle, issue yourself a permit at the trailhead, grab your gear, and get ready to hike through some of the most beautiful scenery the Pacific Northwest has to offer (in our opinion, at least).

For the first five miles you wind your way up and down the valley wall to your left, gaining 600ft of elevation while you pass through an amazingly vibrant and dense temperate rainforest. Countless shades of green can be seen at any point, rare trilliums and other flowers line the sides of the trail, and interesting (and sometimes huge) fungi are never hard to find if you keep an eye out for them. If there was a such thing as an enchanted forest - this would be it. Even the means of crossing the many creeks along the trail lend themselves to this image.

The end of the (relatively) flat section of this trail is marked by an open area along the Foss river. Follow the trail over two log bridges: the first takes you across a wide creek to a rocky bank, and the second takes you over to a steep(ish) rockfall area.

*Note: There are several river-adjacent campsites spread out along the first (flat) section of this trail.

Over the next 3 miles, the trail climbs 2600ft up and out of the forest and into a beautiful sub-alpine environment. You will pass several blooming huckleberry, salmonberry, and raspberry bushes which might be worth a visit later in the season as well.When you encounter snow patches, stay high to avoid breaking through thin sections. A map and compass or GPS would be necessary for an early-season trip, but in late spring the trail should be melted out enough so that it can be followed without much trouble. The final section of trail takes you past several waterfalls and some interesting granite formations while climbing steeply up to the lake.

*It rained heavily while we were camped at the lake. Due to high level of precipitation that is characteristic of this area in the springtime, you should definitely be prepared for wet conditions.

Jade Lake can also be accessed via the Deception Pass trailhead in Ronald, WA. 

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