Location: Skykomish River Valley
Land Agency: National Forest Service
Roundtrip: 4.4 miles
Elevation Gain: 225 feet
Green Trails Map: Alpine Lakes Stevens Pass Map 176S
Contact: Skykomish Ranger District: Mount Baker -Snoqualmie National Forest
Special Note: Northwest Forest Pass required.
Access: From Everett, head 40 miles east on US 2 to Baring. Near Milepost 41 turn left onto 635th Place NE. Cross railroad tracks and after .3 mile, turn left onto FR 6034. Proceed for 4.2 miles to trailhead.
Good to Know: kid-friendly, dog-friendly, Practice Leave No Trace Principles
A gentle and easy hike, Barclay Lake is a welcoming portal into the rugged terrain of Washington’s newest wilderness, the 106,000 acre Wild Sky. The well-graded and maintained trail gains just over 200 feet of elevation in a little more than two miles, making it an ideal jaunt for children and beginning hikers.
Beginning in an old cut, the trail takes off through a dark tunnel of regenerating forest. But soon enough mature forest is reached. Interspersed with remnant giants and quickly taking on old-growth characteristics, this forest is far more attractive and ecologically viable than the one you started off in. With near rainforest characteristics, this area is blessed with copious precipitation. Thick carpets of mosses cling to and drape from just about everything here.
Continue up the narrow valley, hemmed in by Baring Mountain to the south and the craggy, rocky summits of Gunn and Merchant Peaks to the north. Soon after crossing Barclay Creek, the lake is reached. Stroll alongside it and try to find a quiet spot to sit and enjoy it. Barclay has its legion of admirers, from scouts to artists, and from first time hikers to the very seasoned. Gaze out across the lake and up to the striking northern face of Baring Mountain. An imposing and well-known landmark visible from much of the Skykomish Valley; viewed from the lake it’s truly stunning.
For information on lodging and other attractions near Barclay Lake, visit www.snohomish.org.
For more detailed information on this trail and many others nearby, check out my Day Hiking Central Cascades Book (Mountaineers Books).