Barclay Lake Trail: A break from unpacking

We needed some family time out in the woods after five days working on getting our house and yard in order. The movers dropped all of our things off on Monday so by Saturday we headed for the hills. Barclay Lake Trailhead is in the Cascade Mountains up Washington State Highway 2, also known as Stevens Pass. After taking a forest service road about 3.5 miles into the Snoqualmie National Forest we were greeted by a line of cars parked along side the gravel. We went up to the Trailhead, turned around VERY carefully and parked along with everyone else. You must have a NW Forest Pass or a National Parks Interagency Pass to hike… which Jeff got for us yesterday. They are good for a year and free for military families, yippy!

Surprisingly the trail was not incredibly crowded for all the cars and the sunny Saturday. Jeff put L on his back while Q and I donned backpacks of our own and we were off. At a relatively slow pace we made it to the far end of the lake in an hour covering about 2.5 miles. We stopped to pick salmon berries and admire the ferns and trees at regular intervals.  Q asked a myriad of questions about the flora and fauna so I have a mental list of things to look up for schooling this week. The path has lots of roots and small to medium sized rocks to traverse but at our pace our seven year old had no issues. We saw kids as young as four or five hoofing it just fine. 

There are primitive camping sites all along the North side of the lake. We stopped for lunch at the very last camping site at the East end of the lake. It sits next to the stream that feeds Barclay Lake. With a little ducking and weaving one can make it out to a peninsula of mud and sand jutting out into the lake. 

After lunch I slung L on my back and we headed back towards to Trailhead. Retracing our steps to the West end of the lake brought us to some large rocks and logs at the outlet. I gave Jeff the backpack with L, he has much better balance, and we climbed out onto the logs. Next time we need to bring swimming clothes!

The hike back was the same trail as coming in. By about mile four Q was ready to be done and L had fallen asleep in the backpack. We stopped for a quick look at a swimming hole near the bridge crossing Barclay Creek and then made our way to the truck. 

A solid 5 miles, 4 hours, picnic lunch, bunches of berries and fun feet in the water later we headed home. Sultan WA was having a festival so getting out of the pass was slow but bearable. A stop for DQ icecream in Monroe helped a ton. I would definitely do this hike again and would love to camp for a night by the lake in good weather. I’ll have to think on having to carry L the whole way if Jeff is gone… pretty sure I could make it just fine. 

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