Got a late start about noon at the trailhead. Parked at the Denny Campground road as the lots were full. The trail was heavily trafficked until Denny Creek where most people stay to keep cool and enjoy the scenery. The trail to the creek is in good condition. Dry in most areas, and the boardwalks provide a clean boot path above the muddy areas. The entire trail is one of the most scenic and beautiful I have hiked. The trail climbs steadily up to the left side of the gorge of Keekwulee Falls. Great views appear as you ascend.
Once you cross an open area of rocky path and low brush, the trail enters a more forested area. To the right are great views of the falls along a steep dropoff. The trail climbs up switchbacks until finally crossing the creek, and continuing upwards on the right side of the creek. The path opens into a long rocky area climbing to the final set of switchbacks to Hemlock Pass. From the path to the pass, turn around and enjothe view of the valley you just climbed. It’s impressive and you can see I90 in the distance. The trail from the pass to the lake is in good shape. No snow or major muddy areas.
The lake is a beautiful alpine lake with clear blue waters. Set in a basin of the cirque, the peaks of the backside of Alpental loom: Chair, Bryant, Denny, and Kaleetan all shadow the basin. The path to the upper lake skirts the left side of the lake and enters the low part Melakwa pass. This is a great area to explore. Camp at the lake, or push on to the other trails to Kaleetan lake, lower Tuskohatchie lake and Pratt Lake. I will definitely be back for some scrambling of the peaks and other areas.