The 2.2-mile trail to Barclay Lake starts directly from the parking lot, heading east-southeast through an area that has recovered from clear-cut status. For most of its course, the trail follows the path of Barclay Creek, which is tucked into a narrow valley between Gunn and Merchant Peaks to the north and Baring Mountain to the south.
Because this trail is popular (consider going on a weekday to avoid the crowds), and the area receives 150-200 inches of precipitation each year, WTA has performed trail maintenance to build turnpikes and drainage structures to ensure a passable route. Nevertheless, you may encounter muddy or watery spots along the way. Barclay Lake was not included in the Wild Sky Wilderness because of its historical use by groups larger than those permitted in wilderness areas. This makes it a great destination for Boy Scout troops, extended families, and other large outdoor outings.
The trail gains a net 200 feet of elevation over its course to the lake, though there is enough up-and-down to keep you from getting bored. You will see Douglas firs, western hemlocks, and red cedars, some of which are surviving old-growth specimens. Watch for mushroom species, maidenhair ferns, queen’s cup, trillium, salmonberry, and bunchberry. If you look up, you will catch peek-a-boo vistas of the mountains to the north.
At the 1.2-mile mark, cross over Barclay Creek on a log bridge with a single railing. Use caution, as the bridge may be slippery. Continue 0.5 miles and reach Barclay Lake’s north shore. Baring Mountain’s precipitous and rocky northern face suddenly dominates the view. Take in the reflections of evergreens, sky, and Baring in the lake’s peaceful waters.
Depending on the time of day, you are likely to encounter campers or fishermen, or perhaps even be one of them! The trail continues 0.5 miles along the lake’s north shore for those who want their full 2.2 miles and additional perspectives of Baring.
- 4.4 miles, roundtrip
- Elevation Gain
- 500 feet
- Highest Point
- 2,423 feet
Wildfire: trail closed
Hiking Barclay Lake
Map & Directions
Co-ordinates: 47.7923, -121.4592 Open in Google Maps