Alder Lake with Fall Colors

Trip Date: October 17th, 2021

Alder Lake, in the Washington Cascade Mountains, lies to the southwest of Mount Rainier, in the undulating foothills spreading away from the base of the peak. Mountains peaks reaching up two thousand feet surround the horizon at Alder Lake, making for some easy mountain views.

Apropos to the lake’s name, the mountain sides in the area are covered with evergreens, with a scattering of deciduous alder trees displaying their autumnal colors.

Small Highlights of Autumn Color on the Mountainside

I took photographs today while driving along the “Pleasant Valley” area to the south of Alder Lake, on road 7400 in Lewis County, Washington. This was a great place to take a relaxing slow drive through the countryside and take in the views of both the mountainous terrain and the rural farms and homesteads bordering the National Forest.

Pleasant Valley Road 7400 near Alder Lake

The weather was very atmospheric today, with whiffs of low clouds skirting along the mountain sides and over the ridgelines, interplaying with the forest trees. The weather was cool, in the lower 50s, with a high dew point, enough to encourage small low clouds to build along the mountainous terrain around Alder Lake.

Low Clouds Skirting along the Ridge Lines on the Mountains

The two prominent mountains on the western side of the Pleasant Valley are Stahl Mountain (3716 ft) and Ladd Mountain (~3950 ft). The wide Pleasant Valley provided an opportunity to take a panoramic photo of both these mountains standing tall along the valley leading north to Alder Lake (1195 ft).

Stahl and Ladd Mountains in the Cascades of Washington

The water levels in Alder Lake were down a bit, causing a long complex branching shoreline to appear along the perimeter of the lake. The twisting S-curves of the river cut into the lakebed always look complex and inefficient, but you can trust that nature found the easiest path for the water to flow.

Lower water levels cause a complex shoreline at Alder Lake
Single Golden Tree on the Shores of Alder Lake

Overall this was an enjoyable to day to get out of the city and grab some relaxing photos out in the mountains close to home. I always look forward to driving by Alder Lake, as it has marked the beginning and end of numerous past trips, exploring out into the varied terrain that is Washington State.

Colorful Alders trees along the shoreline of Alder Lake in Washington State

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