Tenas Creek

Waterfall on Tenas Creek, by Nels Rasmussen, D.C.

The Tenas Creek Hike is the first portion of the Boulder Lake Hike #740 which is a minimally maintained trail.  When hiking the Boulder Lake Trail, the hike becomes more difficult  as you continue.  Portions of this hike following Tenas Creek are very beautiful in their own right and should not be overlooked.

You hike about .5 mile on an old road then enter the forest and the streamlets of Tenas creek.  As continue you will begin to hear the creek thundering down and come to the first waterfall.

Tenas Creek meadow, by Nels Rasmussen, D.C.

Once you pass the waterfall the trail continues up steeply and you veer away from the creek and enter the Glacier Peak Wilderness.  The trail levels off as you meet up with the creek again lazily meandering through a meadow below.  The waters are so clear and still you can almost count every pebble.  As you continue on the trail begins to climb steeply again.

Entering the alpines, by Nels Rasmussen, D.C.

After a pretty good scramble up hill views of the surrounding peaks and alpine begin to come into view.  You continue picking your way through boulders  then cross the smaller boulder field all the while catching glimpses  Tenas Creek below.

Second Waterfall, by Nels Rasmussen, D.C.

A short way trail takes you to a view of the second waterfall dropping into a deep blue pool.  This far on the trail is usually only accessible in later summer due to snow pack.

Alpine flowers & Tenas Creek, photo by Nels Rasmussen

The trail continues along the mountain slope crossing several boulder fields as Tenas flows below forming pools and cascades bordered by wildflowers.  This trail then continues up the very large boulder field that holds back the headwaters of Tenas Creek forming Boulder Lake which gets steeper and more difficult.  Tenas Creek is a diverse and very spectacular creek worth seeing.  Keep in mind that there are steep portions to this trail and more so as you continue on but every bit of the creek is scenic from the streamlets in the beginning the cascading alpine pools above.

Type of trail: USFS
Length: 3 miles one way to Boulder Lake, how ever the shorter hike along Tenas Creek makes a nice hike also.
Elevation: 1 mile old road grade with moderate elevation then begins to climb.   From trailhead to lake - 3,000 - 5,000
Level of difficulty: easy to difficult depending on length of hike

Best seasons: Summer & Fall

Seasonal interest:
  • Summer - abundant wildflowers & beautiful Tenas Creek
  • Fall - brilliant fall colors at about 2 miles on the slopes of the boulder fields
General Information:
Wilderness Restrictions: at 1 mile trail enters the Glacier Peak Wilderness

Restroom: No

Bring drinking water

Getting There:  To get to Boulder Lake Trail #740 drive 7 miles north on SR 530, after crossing the bridge over the Sauk River, turn off of SR 530to the right onto Forest Service road #26, ( Suiattle Road) and drive a little over 7 miles, turn right onto FS road #2660, (Tenas Creek Road) and drive up the mountain for almost 6 more miles.  At the end of this road is a large parking area at the trailhead.

Further Information: Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest