The trail around Wynoochee Lake is a pleasant stroll through second growth forest with a lush understory. As with many “lakeshore” trails, the trail is not actually near the lakeshore. While the lake is generally out of sight, it does allow the possibility of a hike/canoe biathlon, if you can find a partner with a canoe. Wynoochee Lake is smaller and calmer than some of the lakes in Washington, making this a nice option.
The trail starts near the day use area at the north end of the beach (up-lake from the dam). Pass several social trails as you make your way through the campground. These paths head to campsites or to the water, and there is little doubt which trail is the main trail. Soon you’ll come to a couple of junctions with other trails, but these are well signed. The first one you’ll see is the Working Forest Nature Trail on your left. The next one you’ll see is the Chetwoot Campground on your right. Avoid both of these and stay on the lakeshore trail.
The trail crosses a couple of small creeks, losing and gaining elevation each time. The creeks are pretty small, but could result in wet feet in the early season. In July, look for foxglove at these crossings, a tall plant with pink flowers.
At the north end of the lake you’ll have a choice – you can attempt a ford of Wynoochee River, or you can continue along the trail for another 2 miles to a good bridge overlooking Maidenhair falls. This choice is also an opportunity to do a one-way hike and take an alternate form of transportation back. If you have friends with the canoe, arrange to meet them on the river. If you’re traveling with companions of varying hiking abilities, arrange to meet them at Maidenhair falls with the car. Maidenhair Falls and the accompanying gorge is a mere half mile from its trailhead and is a worthwhile destination for waterfall lovers.
For those who prefer a long walk, the trail continues along the east side of the lake. The loop around the lake is 12-16 miles, depending on whether a ford of the Wynoochee River is safe. At the southern end of the lake, cross the Wynoochee River Gorge on the road bridge.
- 12.0 miles, roundtrip
- Elevation Gain
- 1100 feet
- Highest Point
- 950 feet
Hiking Wynoochee Lake
Map & Directions
Co-ordinates: 47.4084, -123.5852 Open in Google Maps