Lake Janus, Smith Brook Trailhead , Seattle: Alpine Lakes Wilderness - Snoqualmie Pass - Central Cascades, Washington

Lake Janus - 6.9 miles

Smith Brook Trailhead

Lake Janus (4,146')

Lake Janus (4,146')

Round-Trip Length: 6.9 miles
Start-End Elevation: 4,006' - 4,146' (4,610' max elevation)
Elevation Change: +140' net elevation gain (+1,749' total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Easy-Moderate
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: Yes
Related Trails:

Lake Janus - 6.9 Miles Round-Trip

Lake Janus (4,146') is located 3.45 miles from Smith Brook Road along the Pacific Crest Trail in the Henry M. Jackson Wilderness. This large, versatile lake features desirable campsites, open shorelines and Coastal Cutthroat up to 14". 

Trail Map | Photo Gallery

The Smithbrook Trail climbs 628' in 1.3 miles to Union Gap, where the PCT turns north, drops and rises back to the lake. Early maps suggested Lake Janus drained west, but forest supervisor A.H. Sylvester later determined that it in fact drained east.

He subsequently named it Lake Janus after the two-faced Roman god (source: wdfw.wa.gov). A recreation pass is not required to access this trail:

The Smithbrook Trail (#1590) winds under a tall canopy to the HM Jackson Wilderness boundary (.45 miles : 4,220'). It climbs steadily on variously moderate and steep switchbacks to Union Gap and the PCT junction (1.3 miles : 4,610'). Lake Valhalla is located 2.2 miles south of Union Gap on the PCT, another great option.

The PCT turns north and drops quickly under Union Peak (5,696') to a low point just past a break in the timber (2.45 miles : 4,030'). You'll have good views of large meadows in the Rapid River valley from this open stretch.

The trail rises back and crosses a stream on a hairpin turn (3.0 miles :  4,185'). Tiered pools form on this creek early in the season.

The PCT rises and rolls on mild grades into brushy meadows along the west side of Lake Janus (3.45 miles : 4,146'). Use established paths to access the lake from the main trail, and avoid trampling sensitive vegetation in this heavily used area. 

Adjacent meadows are rife with blueberries, and the shore has ample space to cast and explore. The PCT continues 4.8 miles north to Grizzly Peak.

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N47 48.138 W121 04.635 — 0.0 miles : Smith Brook Trailhead
  • N47 48.184 W121 04.768 — .45 miles : Henry M Jackson Wilderness Boundary
  • N47 48.334 W121 04.943 — 1.0 miles : Steep, winding climb
  • N47 48.417 W121 05.167 — 1.3 miles : Union Gap - Pacific Crest Trail junction
  • N47 48.645 W121 05.528 — 1.75 miles : Steep drop to valley floor
  • N47 48.718 W121 05.693 — 2.0 miles : Fast, moderate descent
  • N47 48.972 W121 06.091 — 2.5 miles : Low point of descent, begin climb
  • N47 49.251 W121 05.698 — 3.0 miles : Cross creek on hairpin
  • N47 49.482 W121 05.918 — 3.4 miles : Main spur to lake
  • N47 49.510 W121 05.880 — 3.45 miles : Lake Janus (4,146')
  • N47 49.577 W121 06.191 — 3.95 miles : Methodical climb on switchbacks
  • N47 49.644 W121 06.546 — 4.45 miles : Steady climb in tall canopy
  • N47 49.801 W121 06.940 — 4.95 miles : Transition to subalpine forest
  • N47 50.074 W121 07.176 — 5.45 miles : Level across high, open contour
  • N47 50.319 W121 07.593 — 5.95 miles : Arc around large swale
  • N47 50.349 W121 07.883 — 6.25 miles : Spur to view point
  • N47 50.426 W121 07.971 — 6.45 miles : Undulating travel along crest
  • N47 50.575 W121 08.366 — 6.95 miles : Undulating descent along crest
  • N47 50.609 W121 08.817 — 7.45 miles : Trail steepens up sweeping switchbacks
  • N47 50.657 W121 09.055 — 7.95 miles : Trail moderates in high open heather
  • N47 50.747 W121 09.243 — 8.2 miles : Grizzly Peak (5,597')

Camping and Backpacking Information

Camping Rules and Regulations

  • No fee required.
  • Group size is limited to 12 individuals (or people and stock combined).
  • Camp only in established sites. Some may be closed for restoration
  • Sites are first come, first served.
  • Campfires are permitted at Lake Janus. Fires are not permitted at Lake Valhalla.
  • Bathe and wash dishes at least 150-200' from lakes and streams.

Fishing Information

  • Fishing is permitted in Lake Valhalla and Lake Janus with a valid WA state fishing license.
  • Contact the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife for specific guidelines.
  • wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/

Email: [email protected]
Sport | Commercial Licenses: 360.902.2434
Disability Licenses: 360.902.2460

Rules and Regulations

  • A Recreation Pass is not required to access the Smithbrook Trailhead.
  • Free, self-registration is required at the Smithbrook Trailhead (access for Valhalla (s) and Janus (n) and beyond). Sign in as directed at the trailhead board.
  • Dogs are permitted within the Henry M. Jackson Wilderness, including the Smithbrook Trail and PCT to Lake Janus and Lake Valhalla.

Directions to Trailhead

The Smithbrook Trailhead is located 2.6 miles north of Highway 2 on Smithbrook Road (Forest Service Road #6700). The turnoff for Smithbrook Road is 30.5 miles west of Leavenworth.

Highway 2 is split by a divider in the vicinity of Smith Brook Road. A well-marked turn for Smithbrook Road (FS 6700) crosses the divider for east bound traffic.

Smithbrook Road is a graded gravel road suitable for passenger cars in good condition. High clearance is recommended. Short sections are narrow and winding with potholes.

Contact Information

Okanogan - Wenatchee National Forest | Wenatchee River Ranger District
600 Sherbourne St.
Leavenworth, WA 98826
509.548.2550

Okanogan - Wenatchee National Forest | Headquarters
215 Melody Lane
Wenatchee, WA 98801
509.664.9200

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