It was very cold as we started the Anderson-Watson Lakes trail in the trees. Being the first time we had hiked up here, we were extra excited to check out all of these lakes! The trail is well maintained through the forest and climbs up very gradually to a meadow.
We ran into a couple of hikers that were up there just to visit the meadow. It has a stream running through it and climbs to views of Mount Baker. As the trail tops the meadow, it then drops down a couple hundred feet through the trees on the other side. Raichel, my seven year old and I did not care for the trail down, Reggie was still in my backpack. It was steep and not well maintained. The twist and turns could have been mellow, longer switchbacks.
As it reaches the bottom of the climb, we noticed very well built boardwalks through another meadow. This meadow also has a stream running throughout it. Just across the stream, we found the split in the trail. To the right was Anderson Lake and to the left, the Watson Lakes.
We chose to check out the Watson Lakes first and immediately the trail climbs up another ridge. There are some switchbacks, but it too is very steep in spots. Not too far beyond the ridge crest, we saw the two lakes and I noticed that the spots between the lakes looked very enticing.
Rounding the first lake, Raichel and Reggie had fun balancing across the logs at the outlet stream. I was surprised that there were not very many animal tracks since it seemed quite remote in this area. Once we reached a few campsites and finally the shoreline of the second Watson Lake, it was obvious where we would be eating our lunch.
Raichel found the "perfect spot" for lunch on top of a rock right on the shoreline! I was surprised that the shore was lined with a gravely, nearly sandy, beach. The girls and I explored the area and found a fresh water inlet stream near the cliff wall on the south side of the lake.
Off to find the other lake... Raichel was not very excited about hiking the mile roundtrip to see it. She felt like we had already had quite a long day on the trail with the up and down and exploring around. As we reached the junction again to Anderson Lake, I had to bribe her with Skittles in order to get her to go along with my plans.
The trail stayed level and then gradually dropped down to the lake. As it started to get steep, Raichel wanted to turn around, but we heard some other kids playing at the lake so she pushed on. We stopped at the outlet stream and ate our Skittles.
There are some trails that go every which way, one marked for a toilet. I left Raichel with the Skittles and took Reggie, all day on again off again inside my backpack, across the stream. From the meadows there, we saw a beautiful view of Mount Baker. The lake itself was smaller than the Watson Lakes and not as great in my opinion.
The hike out was filled with Raichel torn between stopping and wanting to be at the car both at the same time. We passed multiple groups with backpacks heading to Anderson Lake for the night, I would definitely want to stay at Watson Lakes myself. Back at the car, both girls were asleep in no time!
Looking back, I would have skipped Anderson Lake and just been happy with the Watson Lakes.