An easy route with a challenging finish, the main trail through Gazzam Lake Nature Preserve meanders through second-growth forest on Bainbridge Island, plunging down its finish at a small, scenic section of rocky beach.
Formerly an old road bed, the trail begins as a flat path through mossy forests of redcedar, salal, and one or two small tallgrass fields. These meadows are being reclaimed from the invasive scotch broom plant, thanks to local community efforts.
A third of a mile down the old road, it forks, and you can continue on the old road, or take the righthand branch and enjoy a slightly longer route. Both trails meet up at a junction, for a lollipop loop option, take one on the way to the beach, and one on the way back.
Either way, the greenery of the forest surrounds you. Listen for birdcalls and look for other trail users – equestrians use this trail occasionally, though the route down to the beach is hiker-only.
Arrive at a junction. To your right is Gazzam Lake, where waterfowl and other birds make their home. Listen for their calls as you turn left if you came from the main road (straight ahead if you came from the other trail). Keep the lake on your right, and don’t fret – you’ll get to take a closer look soon.
Soon a small ‘Lake Access’ trail appears on your right. Duck down this to get a better look, if you wish. Otherwise continue on the main trail, where, a mile after last junction, you arrive at a ‘T’ intersection. The road to your right leads to the Marshall Hill parking area. This parking lot provides closer access for those wanting the most direct route to the beach. Take the Westwood Shore trail to your left (hiker-only after the interpretive sign (.4 mile) and enjoy your last few hundred feet of relatively flat hiking.
About a quarter-mile from the third junction, the trail begins to descend, gradually at first, but then the grade becomes steeper. As the water comes into view, the trail appears to head straight downhill, but stick with it – traverse across the hillside into some rollicking switchbacks that funnel you down to a staircase for the very last pitch onto the beach. Enjoy your lunch here and refuel for the climb back up.
WTA Pro Tip: For the enterprising hiker, Peter’s Trail is a nice add-on from the Deerpath trailhead. It's a narrow, brushy trail wending through closer forest than the Gazzam Lake trail. It's a mile and a half round trip; do it before tackling the Gazzam Lake trail, since you won’t feel much like it afterwards, and it serves as a nice warm-up.
Gazzam Lake Nature Preserve
- 6.8 miles, roundtrip
- Elevation Gain
- 500 feet
- Highest Point
- 380 feet
Hiking Gazzam Lake Nature Preserve
Gazzam Lake Nature Preserve
Map & Directions
Co-ordinates: 47.6097, -122.5637 Open in Google Maps