A 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.
The 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):
There 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.
Although 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 Name: Barclay Lake
Distance: 4.4 miles RT
Elevation Gain: 225 feet
Highest Point: 2425 feet
Permits and Passes: Northwest Forest Pass Required