Dog Friendly Barclay Lake Trail: Easy Hike, Amazing View

20140412_124035_2DA friend took Chester and I to the Barclay Lake trail years ago. We hiked up there when the trail was covered in a couple of feet of snow. The trail has been on my hiking bucket list since them because I wanted to go back when I could see the actual trail.

We hiked one of the toughest dog friendly trails in Western Washington last week so it was SO nice to hike this easy trail. If you’ve never gone beyond City Park trails, this is a great one to hike with your dog. There’s not much elevation gain and, even if you take your time, it only takes about 1.5 hours to hike to the lake.

I’ve said our favorite trail, Snow Lake, is the best bang for you buck as far as Seattle trails go. However, that trail is a moderate climb. If you are looking for something easier with an amazing view, this trail is it. The drive to the trailhead is about 1.5 hours from Seattle along Highway 2.

The trail itself is beautiful. It’s very lush and green and you can catch glimpses Merchant Peak along the way. The trail loosely follows Barclay Creek, the outlet of the lake, and you cross the creek on a log bridge at one point. It can be a little dizzying but the handrail is very sturdy and the crossing log is fairly wide and flat on top.

20140412_111723_2BThe Barclay Lake trail is one place where I have seen a lot of, what I like to call, “trees growing on rocks”. I don’t know if this phenomenon has a technical name, or is exclusive to Western Washington, but I think it is pretty amazing. Trees start to grow in the dirt on top of rocks and the roots grow around the rock to the ground when the tree gets bigger. Here are some examples (and these aren’t even the coolest ones):


20140412_111558_2CThere are a lot of snags (standing dead trees) along the trail that provide habitat for woodland creatures. Dead trees can actually provide more habitat for wild animals than live ones. Some Fungi only grow on dead and decaying trees too. There was no shortage of these unique “mushrooms” along the trail.

20140412_131016_2EOne of the best things about hiking with your dog is all of the different smells they encounter. There was no shortage of places for Chester and Gretel to explore along the Barclay Lake Trail.

20140412_125449GAlthough the trail itself is impressive, it’s the destination that is awe-inspiring. Barclay Lake is nestled at the foot of the imposing Baring Peak. This mountain is amazing. You can see it from Highway 2 and is always the highlight of my drive. The view from the lake affords a different perspective. This is definitely a place to grab a log, get out your lunch, and savor the view.


Trail Stats:

Trail Name: Barclay Lake
Distance: 4.4 miles RT
Elevation Gain: 225 feet
Highest Point: 2425 feet
Permits and Passes: Northwest Forest Pass Required

About the Author

Hi, I’m Jessica. I’m a Dachshund sitter, President of the largest social Dachshund club in Washington State, a dog trainer in training, and I’ve been a Dachshund owner for 20 years. I have over 150,000 hours of experience with the breed. When I’m not working, you can find me hiking, camping, and traveling with my adventurous wiener dogs.


  1. Wow, it’s just gorgeous out there! Love the stream with the cool looking bridge. The water is so clear.

    1. Yeah…our water is super clear. I had a friend from Arkansas, who was an earth scientist, try and tell me that our rivers were sterile/damaged because they were so clear. I doubted him but now I know for sure he didn’t know Northwest rivers. Our rivers, especially up in the woods like this, are very healthy and support a lot of fish.

    1. The woods smell good to me too but it’s kind of a “smell blur”…I don’t get distinct squirrel, or dirt, or crumbs left by hikers 🙂

  2. Thanks for the link, and thanks for inviting us! That was a really good hike.

    That bridge is a lot harder with my loopy dogs, I think. lol I was sure one of them was going to jump.

    1. For me, that crack in the middle was a little sketchy. My dogs are small so I was more afraid they would fall through 🙂

      It was fun though. We’ll have to go on more hikes this summer for sure.

      1. Quincy is pretty oblivious to everything, so he nearly fell into the crack a couple times. He also nearly backed off the bridge in one of his attempts to turn around and make sure I was still there.

        Definitely fun though! I’m down for more hiking for sure, although that trail is about the hardest I can do until I build up some endurance. So out of shape!

        1. I hear ya. I’ll be doing some harder ones for sure but need to throw easy “rest day” hikes in there. I’ll let you know when I go on a weekend.

  3. That’s really lovely. Of all the things that make me sad: the ONE thing that I lost irreparably when my last hard drive crashed was all my photos from my one and only trip to the Seattle area. I had uploaded a few of them to Facebook, but the quality is so compressed that I can’t do anything with them.

    On a completely different note, I’m always so happy to come here and see fit and active Dachshunds, instead of roly-poly ones.

    1. I totally feel your pain! A few years ago, my computer got a virus and crashed. I had my backup, external hard drive attached and the virus to got to it too and wiped it. I lost ALL of my photos for…well, since I owned a digitial camera. All family, vacation, and dog photos were gone. I was So devastated. Like you, I have managed to salvage a few photos from Facebook but the quality is so compromised it’s almost not worth it.

      Guess you will just have to make another trip to Seattle!

      Pudgy Dachshunds make me sad. We get all shapes and sizes coming to our Dachshund meetups. I try not to judge or meddle but I love it when an owner asks me how I keep Chester and Gretel so thin and how they might slim theirs down.

    1. Oh yeah, there is still quite a bit of snow over 4,000 feet here and patches starting at around 2,000 feet. Although this trail doesn’t climb much, it starts at 2,500 feet elevation.

  4. Abby, Murphy, Cody, and I went up to Barclay Lake on Thursday. It sprinkled a bit on the way up, but we had good weather while hiking. There were a few spots with water running on the trail, and there was a crew there working on the approach to the bridge.
    I had more trouble with the footing than they did, especially since they were pulling me. Handling 3 of them all by myself is quite a trick.
    They did just fine on the bridge, and didn’t seem to really notice. I was worried about the rock slide area, but they did fine. Abby stumbled here and there, but her legs are so short, that’s pretty common. They were just toasted when we got back to the car. All in all, a very nice hike. Thanks for pointing it out.

    1. I can’t imagine trying to juggle three leashes and being pulled by three sniffing dogs on the trail. Two is enough for me 🙂

      I didn’t think about the rock slide area. Chester and Gretel did fine too so I didn’t think to mention it. At least it is not long. I am glad you liked the hike.

  5. I can’t take Delilah anywhere NEAR water or someone is going in. LOL

    Looks like a beautiful trail. We do have a house in our neighborhood where the tree is growing on the rock, it’s pretty cool. In fact I snapped a picture of it last week. 🙂

  6. This looks so peaceful and relaxing! I love your photos, and I’m all for an easy hike! My mother in law lives in Washington, about 2 hours from Seattle, and she is always going camping and hiking. I’m not exactly sure where she goes, but she always has gorgeous photos as well.

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