The trailhead to the Lake 22 hike is just off Mountain Loop Highway, in Granite Falls. It's an easy drive from the city to get there and it sure is worth it. This hike is a popular one, so I recommend getting there early! I always recommend that though! Even getting started at 9am can be a huge difference from 10am. Trust me!
I'd say this hike is moderate, about 6 miles roundtrip. You hike through old growth forest, at a moderate elevation gain. The switchbacks do help with the elevation gain, but...you are still moving upward so it's not easy. But holy cow, is it worth every side cramp. It's simply gorgeous. Everything is moss covered and so very lush and green. None of us cared that it was drizzling rain on us, because it added to the beauty. The views along the hike cause you to stop and take pause. And be grateful for this incredible area we live in. There is a portion of this hike that is pretty rocky, you sort of climb over boulders, but it doesn't last too long.
When you reach the top, you'll be even happier! You have reached Lake 22. It has a nice dock you can walk on to enjoy the beauty. There is also the option of hiking around the lake itself, if you are so inclined. If you decide to do so, you should be careful not to twist an ankle. It is very rocky and there are big boulders. In our case, we had brought a puppy, so hiking around was out of the question.
We always pack a picnic to enjoy at the "goal" of our hike and this time we had to eat in the rain. But it was still really lovely and I absolutely recommend this hike!