Hiking Snow Lake
I'm a huge fan of hiking. Not really camping, but spending hours climbing over rocks up steep hills and switchbacks to awesome views at the tops of mountains sounds like a fun weekend activity to me.
I recently hiked up to Snow Lake in the Snoqualmie Region of the Cascades. It's about a 3 mile hike on a semi-exposed trail that leads you up to a viewpoint overlooking the lake, and an additional half mile or so down to the shores of the lake, where you can dip your feet in, go for a dive, or even bring some inflatable paddle boards or kayaks to get some peace and quiet in the middle of the water.
I honestly did not find this hike to be that difficult, despite the 1,800 foot elevation gain and rocky switchbacks and log stairs on the upper half of the trail. I will warn you, though - the bugs are relentless and I spent the entire hike up swatting at my face, arms, and legs, until a group told us to break off a branch of pine and use it as a whip/swatter. This was an extremely helpful idea.
Another thing I have to add is that the trail gets BUSY. I tend to want to beat crowds, so we got to the trailhead a little after 6AM on a Sunday and there were still a good number of cars already parked. Our peaceful rest time at the lake was cut short due to a large group of kids (I'd say at least 12) came up to where we were on the shore - they had an entire shoreline to choose from, but they wanted to sit with us - and took over while the one pair of adults left them to go explore more of the shoreline. Their loud and disruptive behavior drove us from the water and we started making our way down around 10AM.
We ran into SO. MANY. GROUPS. on our way back, and the trail isn't wide enough to have people moving in opposite directions, so we often found ourselves stepping aside or passing people, and even had a lovely encounter with an older fellow who shoved his way past people, nearly knocking a girl off the trail and down the side of the mountain, claiming he had the right of way and that people didn't follow hiking etiquette anymore.
If I'm completely honest, the people I've encountered on this particular trail have been some of the worst in all of my hikes. There were some friendly folks, especially on the way up (I think the more dedicated hikers head up earlier in the day, whereas leisurely or casual hikers head up in the late morning or midday), but overall, people were noisy, disruptive, unfriendly, or plain rude like the guy I mentioned above.
I'm obviously making a generalized statement, but this hike was the first one where I crossed paths with so many people who couldn't even be bothered to say "hello" or "thanks" when I let them pass.
The lake itself was worth the additional descent to the shore! The view of it is pretty at the top, but it's not until you can dip your feet in the water that it makes the hike worth it.
I would strongly recommend bringing extra water. I carried 48 ounces of water with me and ran out before we were halfway back down the mountain. Even though the hike itself is not rated as extreme or difficult, being exposed to the sun can easily make you thirsty, hot and sweaty; it's better to finish the hike having not consumed your entire water supply rather than run out halfway down the mountain and have to suck your tongue or dream about stealing someone's water bottle, trust me.