Historically, the most frequent approach to Eagle Lake has been via a scramble from Barclay Lake that is not suitable for most hikers. One story holds that Harvey Manning -- angry that logging in the lower Eagle Creek basin made road access to Eagle Lake via the Fisherman's route too easy -- intentionally omitted directions to this trailhead in his guidebook.
The roadside parking area is marked with a “National Forest Wilderness” sign that bears a map of the region. The sign erroneously indicates “Barclay Lake #1055,” but knowledgeable hikers have indicated the location of the trailhead and the trail route with black marker. If you see this wrong sign, then you are in the right place!
Head northwest into the brush that lines the trail, which starts over rocky tread. Pass through the alder-dominated brush into second-growth forest and finally into old growth forest, populated by western red cedar, subalpine fir, western hemlock, and mountain hemlock. The trail starts off rocky but then becomes rooty as it enters the Wild Sky Wilderness. The high rainfall in the wilderness helps sustain moss, maidenhair ferns, and deer ferns. To your right, peek through the trees for glimpses of Townsend Mountain, towering over you. Munch on huckleberries if you hike during the late summer or fall.
Over 1.9 miles the rugged trail gains 600 feet to a maximum height of 4000 feet, then descends slightly and comes to a circular clearing. The trail to the left heads to Stone Lake and ultimately down to Barclay Lake, while the trail to the right leads into Paradise Meadow and continues northwest for 0.6 miles through a wetland crisscrossed by creek channels and dominated by heather and huckleberry bushes. Stick to the best-defined bootpaths to minimize your environmental footprint. You may have to jump over a few creeks along the way. Boots, a map, and a compass are a must to ensure that you reach your destination with dry feet.
As you approach Eagle Lake, Merchant Peak looms overhead to your west. Townsend Mountain is to the northeast. Watch for chipmunks, coastal tailed frogs, grasshoppers, dragonflies, and trout that live in and around the lake and Paradise Meadow. Lakeside flora include mountain ash, mountain hemlocks, and paintbrush.
Follow the paths to explore the cabin on the southeast shore of the lake. Keep in mind that this area has been heavily impacted by hikers visiting it. Please stay on the social trails, even if they're muddy -- it's easy to wash off your boots when you get home; meadows take much longer to recover.
Eagle Lake Fisherman's Trail
- 5.0 miles, roundtrip
- Elevation Gain
- 712 feet
- Highest Point
- 3,888 feet
Wildfire: trail closed
Hiking Eagle Lake Fisherman's Trail
Eagle Lake Fisherman's Trail
Map & Directions
Co-ordinates: 47.7780, -121.3848 Open in Google Maps