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Eagle Lake Fisherman's Trail

Central Cascades

Location

Central Cascades -- Stevens Pass - West
View map below

Length

5.0 miles, roundtrip

Elevation

Gain: 712 ft.
Highest Point: 3888 ft.

Rating

4.18 out of 5

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Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None
 
 

Historically, the most frequent approach to Eagle Lake has been via a scramble from Barclay Lake that is not suitable for most hikers. One story holds that Harvey Manning -- angry that logging in the lower Eagle Creek basin made road access to Eagle Lake via the Fisherman's route too easy -- intentionally omitted directions to this trailhead in his guidebook.

The roadside parking area is marked with a “National Forest Wilderness” sign that bears a map of the region. The sign erroneously indicates “Barclay Lake #1055,” but knowledgeable hikers have indicated the location of the trailhead and the trail route with black marker. If you see this wrong sign, then you are in the right place!

Head northwest into the brush that lines the trail, which starts over rocky tread. Pass through the alder-dominated brush into second-growth forest and finally into old growth forest, populated by western red cedar, subalpine fir, western hemlock, and mountain hemlock. The trail starts off rocky but then becomes rooty as it enters the Wild Sky Wilderness. The high rainfall in the wilderness helps sustain moss, maidenhair ferns, and deer ferns. To your right, peek through the trees for glimpses of Townsend Mountain, towering over you. Munch on huckleberries if you hike during the late summer or fall.

Over 1.9 miles the rugged trail gains 600 feet to a maximum height of 4000 feet, then descends slightly and comes to a circular clearing. The trail to the left heads to Stone Lake and ultimately down to Barclay Lake, while the trail to the right leads into Paradise Meadow and continues northwest for 0.6 miles through a wetland crisscrossed by creek channels and dominated by heather and huckleberry bushes. Stick to the best-defined bootpaths to minimize your environmental footprint. You may have to jump over a few creeks along the way. Boots, a map, and a compass are a must to ensure that you reach your destination with dry feet.

As you approach Eagle Lake, Merchant Peak looms overhead to your west. Townsend Mountain is to the northeast. Watch for chipmunks, coastal tailed frogs, grasshoppers, dragonflies, and trout that live in and around the lake and Paradise Meadow. Lakeside flora include mountain ash, mountain hemlocks, and paintbrush.

Follow the paths to explore the cabin on the southeast shore of the lake. Keep in mind that this area has been heavily impacted by hikers visiting it. Please stay on the social trails, even if they're muddy -- it's easy to wash off your boots when you get home; meadows take much longer to recover.

 

Eagle Lake Fisherman's Trail

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 47.7780, -121.3848 Open map in new window

Trailhead

Central Cascades -- Stevens Pass - West

Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Skykomish Ranger District

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Guidebooks & Maps

Green Trails Monte Cristo No. 143

Getting There

From Monroe, head east on Hwy 2 to Skykomish. Just past mile post 49, turn left on Beckler Road, also designated as FR-65. Reset your odometer after turning onto FR-65. Go 0.7 miles on Beckler Road and turn left on FR-6510. About 1 mile later, veer left onto FR-6514. Go another 3.6 miles and veer right on FR-6514. Continue 1.3 miles to an unmarked fork and veer left. 0.2 miles later, come to a parking area marked with a National Forest Wilderness sign at a hairpin turn. There is parking for 6-7 cars, but no privy. If you reach a 'T' intersection, you've gone too far. Also, if you actually get to the creek itself, you've missed a turn: this trailhead is NOT the social trail that heads off from where the road crosses the creek (and then quickly disappears into impenetrable brush).

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None
 

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Eagle Lake Fisherman's Trail

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