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Packwood Lake

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Sometimes, even the most gung-ho hiker needs a break-just a gentle walk through the woods, followed by a leisurely swim and a relaxing afternoon alongside a cool lake. Packwood Lake is the perfect place to practice this laid-back trail lifestyle, especially late in the spring and early in the autumn when the hordes of summer hikers have gone home, freeing up the lake's popular campsites and excellent fishing opportunities.

The Packwood Lake Trail (No. 78) weaves through old second-growth forests for 4 miles along a deep river valley, with views limited to the trees around you. As the trail nears this broad, low-elevation lake, you'll find peek-a-boo views up the valley to the jagged crest of Goat Rocks.

At 4.6 miles, the trail reaches an old ranger station at the west end of the lake (2900 feet). A wide wooden bridge crosses the outlet stream. You'll pass the campground just after crossing the bridge. The trail continues around the end of the lake and leads east along the north side of the mile-long lake. Many campsites can be found along the lake, with great views up onto the Goat Rocks peaks.
Driving Directions:

From Packwood, follow U.S. Highway 12 to the east end of town and turn south-east onto Forest Road 1262 (next to the former USFS Packwood Ranger Sta-tion). Continue southeast on FR 1262 for 6 miles to the trailhead parking lot.

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Note: the description and driving directions for this Mountaineers Books entry are copyrighted and can't be changed.

Recent Trip Reports

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There are 69 trip reports for this hike. See all trip reports for this hike.
Packwood Lake — Apr 12, 2014 — Pam and Paul Kaperick
Day hike
Issues: Blowdowns | Water on trail | Snow on trail
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If you want to hike Packwood Lake AND have it be a challenging out and back now is the time. There a...
If you want to hike Packwood Lake AND have it be a challenging out and back now is the time. There are no fewer than 47 trees on the trail between the trailhead and the lake. Some are easy to walk over and others are more challenging. The 94 total for an out and back will add to the work necessary to hike this pretty trail.

More story and pictures here. http://hikemindedpeople.blo[…]od-lake-tree-challenge.html
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Coyote Trail, Upper Lake Creek, Old Snowy Mountain - Elk Pass, Packwood Lake — Sep 04, 2013 — HikerJim
Multi-night backpack
Features: Wildflowers blooming | Fall foliage | Ripe berries
Issues: Blowdowns | Washouts | Bugs
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Gary, John, and I did a three day loop trip at the north end of the Goat Rocks Wilderness. Much less...
Gary, John, and I did a three day loop trip at the north end of the Goat Rocks Wilderness. Much less crowded than the Snowgrass Flats end. We hiked to Packwood Lake, Lost Lake, and part way along Coyote Ridge on day one. The next day we hiked along the ridge, down to Packwood Saddle and on up to Elk Pass. We set up camp there and day hiked on the PCT to Old Snowy Mountain. A great ridge walk with terrific views from the summit of Old Snowy.

On day three we hiked out via the Upper Lake Creek Trail from Packwood Saddle to Packwood Lake. From there it was another 4.5 miles back to the car. The entire trip was 35 miles with about 9500' of elevation gain.

Now a conditions report. The trail to Packwood Lake is in excellent condition. It is used by horses so expect some trail "apples" but otherwise it in great shape. The rest of the loop has not been logged out this near. Not a big problem from Packwood Lake to Lost Lake and on Coyote Ridge. We counted some 40 logs down but none will be a big problem for hikers.

The Upper Lake Creek Trail is in much poorer shape. Expect 40 - 50 downed trees between Packwood Saddle and Packwood Lake. Horses have gouged out trails, some long, to get around them. Many we climbed over. Many we went around. The creek has also washed out several sections of trail. Lots of rocks and sand in the forest until tread is picked up again. In a few spots the trail is now down in the creek bed. None of these problems will stop a hiker. They are just a bit tedious to keep getting around. We did enjoy two very large old growth trees along the trail above Packwood Lake. One was a little over 8 feet in diameter.

This seems to be a bad year for stingers. I had one sting and John had 9. All of his on the Upper Lake Creek Trail. Gary escaped without a sting. In the big picture the problems were minor. We had a great time. Two lakes, a high camp, a great summit, miles of ridge walking, and not all that crowded. A fine way to spend three days in the mountains.

My full report has a page for each of the tree days and includes photos with each day. There are 31 photos for day one, 54 for day two, and 18 for day three.

The report with all the annotated photos can be found on my website which is located at: http://www.hikingnorthwest.com. Go to "Trips - 2013 on the left margin.
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Packwood Lake — Aug 30, 2013 — hillbilly
Overnight
Features: Wildflowers blooming | Fall foliage | Ripe berries
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We, myself and sweetheart, hiked to Packwood lake over the Memorial Day Holiday weekend. The lake wa...
We, myself and sweetheart, hiked to Packwood lake over the Memorial Day Holiday weekend. The lake was very clear and one could see the bottom of the shallows. We noticed a certain type of underwater vegetaion growing on the lake bottom in areas the sun always makes to the bottom through the water. I is a green, very healthy looking plant, and from what i know is likely home to a bunch of underwater insect life including the now adult dragonflies cruising around!This creates a bounty for fish life and Kingfisher birds we saw. Even got ot witness the Kingfisher fishing, catching and eating a small trout. first time ever to see that!The days were nice abd warm...tee shirt weather. Bugs were at a minimal...no skeeters. The sites were mostly taken and we had to head down the edge of the lake toward the Upper Lake Creek trail #81. our camp had a little spring coming off the ridge behind and the whole trip was super.
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Packwood Lake, Packwood Lake — Aug 22, 2013 — lefty0807
Multi-night backpack
Features: Ripe berries
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This is my first post. I love this website, but am posting to let you know of my disgust. The hike...
This is my first post. I love this website, but am posting to let you know of my disgust. The hike was relatively flat and easy. Had some blueberries and huckleberries as we rested on the way. Took 74 back to the trailhead for diversity and Mt. Rainier views.

I had several issues with this hike and the Packwood Lake campsites.

Hiking in, we encountered trail apples, quite frequently. This is not a good practice. Leaving feces along a trail invites wildlife that could cause confrontation. When the trails hover above human campsites, you encourage wildlife to become desensitised to their surroundings and can create a life and death issue for people in the vicinity.

We also had a large issue with trash left in the campground, trash in firepits, and, most alarmingly, hiker feces left on the surface all around Packwood Lake. This behavior is contrary to the "Leave no trace" ideals. BURY YOUR WASTE! This is posted everywhere! Don't void on the ground because you're 30 feet above your tent.

This trip left me worried and disgusted. I don't know if it is WTA community members doing these things, but you need to learn to respect the NF and wilderness we have left. If you can't be here without causing issues, please don't come at all.

 
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Packwood Lake — Jul 20, 2013 — Lashel
Overnight
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Great hike, the weather was perfect. It may have been triple digits in Yakima, but it was a pleasant...
Great hike, the weather was perfect. It may have been triple digits in Yakima, but it was a pleasant 80 degrees up in Packwood, with most of the hike in shade. This is a very busy lake so if you are seeking solitude be prepared to hike further than the 4 1/2 miles to the lake. We had to hike an additional 2 miles along the lake to find a camp site. Even at that the trail near our camp site was busy. The mosquitos were manageable. I just used an all natural insect repellent, and it did fine.
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packwoodlake rock ranger.jpg
Photo courtesy of user 'GOUWDOGS'
WTA worked here!
2013
Location
Packwood Lake (#78), (#)
South Cascades -- Goat Rocks
USFS Cowlitz Valley Ranger District, Packwood Office
Statistics
Roundtrip 10.0 miles
Elevation Gain 600 ft
Highest Point 3200 ft
Features
Rivers
Lakes
Mountain views
Established campsites
User info
Good for kids
Northwest Forest Pass required
Guidebooks & Maps
South Cascades
Green Trails No. 302 Packwood

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