Wow, hard to believe this hike is completely snow free in mid-November but it is! We arrived at around 930 to the trailhead (note: you park at the Franklin Falls Trailhead and walk a 1/4 mile as the gate is shut to the Melakwa lot). The first bit to Denny Creek is nice and flat and has some fun features like lots of large trees, a bridge and walking under 1-90 which is actually kind of neat.
After crossing the creek, it picks up a bit but still not bad, in terms of elevation. The folks in my group really loved the variety -- after a bit in the trees you pop out from under the canopy and get some lovely waterfall views (and in theory some valley views but it was foggy on our way up). The trail is pretty rocky and rooty so with the wet weather, it was pretty slick so just watch your footing! After some elevation, you flatten our after a creek crossing and then after crossing some flat talus slope you start what's probably the most steep stretch of switchbacks, even though it never got too difficult. After some climbing you plateau before heading down to the lake basin.
The lake was partially frozen which was very neat, and we were about the cloud layer so we had blue skies and some sun! On the descent, we definitely got back into the mist but we enjoyed our time at the lake very much. There were a few groups but nothing like you'd expect for an weekend on an I-90 hike. Overall, we saw comparatively very few people all day, probably around 20!
Definitely recommend getting out there while it's still snow free!