Location: Sultan Basin
Land Agency: Snohomish County Public Utility District
Roundtrip: 1.6 miles
Elevation Gain: 300 feet
Green Trails Map: Mountain Loop HIghway No. 111SX
Access: From Everett follow US 2 east to Sultan. At a traffic light just past Milepost 23 turn left onto Sultan Basin Road. Follow for 13.2 miles (pavement ends at 10.4 miles) to an information kiosk. Stop and sign-in acknowledging that you understand the rules and regulations for visiting the Sultan Basin which is Everett’s public water supply. Then bear left at a Y-intersection and continue 1.6 miles to parking area and trailhead.
Notes: Register (no fee) at kiosk at watershed entrance; dogs permitted on leash
Good to Know: Kid-friendly, dog-friendly
This is a great little family-friendly hike to a forested picnic area just beyond the Culmback Dam. While the dam’s Spada Lake is not open to swimming, it’s still pretty refreshing to look at on a warm afternoon. Spada provides drinking water for Everett and a good part of Snohomish County, so it’s imperative that you help keep this resource clean.
From the Gateway Parking Area, walk the gated road to the right. The gated road leading left will bring you to the new Sultan River Canyon Trail. This 2.2 mile trail through old-growth timber to the Sultan River in a remote canyon makes for a good add-on hike if you seek more exercise and outdoor excitement upon completing your Spada Lake hike.
The gated dirt road gently descends about 100 feet reaching the Culmback Dam in about .25 mile. Here you can admire the structure—and read all about it at an information kiosk.
The 262-foot tall Culmback Dam creating the Spada Lake reservoir was built in two stages—the first phase completed in 1965. The second stage was completed in 1984, raising the dam’s height and greatly increasing Spada Lake’s capacity.
As you walk across the dam, admire the Sultan River Canyon downstream—and take in wonderful views of Bald Mountain looming over Spada Lake. Enjoy good views too of the rugged peaks and ridges surrounding the Sultan River at the eastern end of the reservoir. Then walk the road trail climbing a couple of hundred feet to the North Shore Recreation Area. Here you’ll find picnic tables, interpretive signs and more good views. It’s a great place to lounge around on a lazy summer day.
For information on lodging and other attractions near the Sultan Basin visit Snohomish County Tourism.