Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Barclay Lake-Mount Baker/Snoqualmie National Forest

Near Index, Washington

Duration: 1 Day
Season: Spring - Fall
Distance: ~ 4 miles, round-trip
Difficulty: Easy

Barclay Lake is located in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest of Washington State, a massive forest which extends from the Canadian border more than 140 miles along the western slopes of the Cascade Mountains. Within the Forest boundaries you’ll find glacier covered peaks, alpine lakes, old growth timber, wild and scenic rivers and abundance of fish and wildlife, not to mention Mount Baker, an active volcano.

The Forest offers a host of recreational opportunities and combined with its location it’s one of the most popular forests in the nation. Weather can be unpredictable with the Cascades creating their own weather, so come prepared for fog, rain and snow (higher elevations can receive over 500 inches of precipitation, mostly in the form of snow). Barclay Lake lies within the boundaries of the new proposed wilderness area, called Wild Sky Wilderness and is part of the Skykomish Ranger District. A district which covers 316,522 acres of forest, mountains, sub-alpine meadows and more than 150 lakes, along with112,000 acres of Wilderness and approximately 140 miles of hiking trails.

As for the trail, Barclay Lake trailhead is extraordinary. There are great views of Mt. Barring and Merchant Peak from the parking area and there are several waterfalls flowing down off of Heybrook Ridge on the north side of the road. The trailhead is at the end of an old logging road, in a box canyon. Mt. Baring is a well-known icon on Highway 2. There is a climbers’ route for Mt. Baring that also starts from the trailhead, continuing up the old logging road, which is now blocked off.

The trail starts out in second growth forest, running parallel with Barclay Creek. Along the way loom many old growth stumps. The trail winds down and twists in and out of stumps, rocks and through mud. Wildlife can be seen along the trail and at the campsites by the lake. Old cedar puncheon covers most of the trail shortly before the fairly new bridge crossing the pretty green-colored Barclay Creek. There are several places to stop along the creek. The trail climbs slowly up to the lake, with old growth forest along this section of the trail.

At the western end towers the north face of Mt. Baring, with an impressive 3,100 foot vertical drop from the top. A logjam at the west end of the lake makes easy walking to bigger rocks, for viewing the lake or Mt. Baring. In late summer, early fall the lake level usually drops quite a bit, leaving a wider shoreline to walk on. The lake itself, is about ½ mile long, with three or four campsites along the shore. The trail travels down the north side of the lake, where there are places to picnic or swim all along the way. Grotto Mountain can be seen from the middle and the east end of the lake. At the end of the lake is an old fisherman’s trail up to Eagle Lake, a two-mile, one-way trip, with 1,500 feet elevation gain. This is a very rough, old trail.

Regulations: Motorized and mechanized equipment is prohibited. Maximum party-size is 12 in a group. Short cutting trail switchbacks is prohibited. Possessing unprocessed hay, straw, or raw grain livestock feed is prohibited. Grazing, hitching, tethering, or hobbling any pack and/or saddle livestock within 200 feet of a lakeshore is prohibited. Do not build fires where posted as prohibited. Caching equipment is prohibited. Cutting of standing green trees, snags, and boughs is prohibited. Bury human waste away from water sources. Protect water quality. Pack out litter.

Directions: Traveling east on Highway 2, go 6 miles past Index, Washington by milepost marker 41. To Baring, turn left on FS Road 6024, travel through a residential area, then FS Road #6024, begins stay on main road about 4.4 miles in the road ends and the trailhead begins.

For a map, pictures and more info click on Barclay Lake

See you on the trail,

All Day Energy Runners

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