John Guilford's Hikes
Barclay and Eagle Lakes on 2015-06-06
Location: Barclay and Eagle Lakes
People: (including myself): Pam
Trailhead: 12:10 2200 0
Bridge over Creek 12:40 2300 1.3
Barclay Lake 12:55 2422 2.0
Start Up Slope 1:40 2422 3.5
Stone Lake 3:15 3875 5.1
Eagle Lake 3:40 3888 5.6
Leave Eagle Lake 4:10 3888 6.1
Stone Lake 4:30 3875 6.7
Barclay Lake 5:30 2422 7.8
Bridge over Creek 6:00 2300 9.0
Trailhead: 6:25 2200 10.2
Note: this mileage was based on GPS and is probably
somewhat higher than it should be.
We had planned on hiking to Blanca Lake, but when we turned off of Rt. 2 at
Index, we found the old approach road that I knew was closed due to a
washout. I didn't have an updated approach, so we switched gears and
decided to do Barclay and Eagle Lakes instead.
The day was an unseasonably warm June day with clear blue skies - just
about perfect for a hike.
To get to the trailhead, take FS 6024 from Baring. In about 4 miles
the road ends at the trailhead. There were quite a few cars there when
we arrived just before noon, but we still found parking on the side of the
road. When we arrived at the trailhead, we found a sign announcing that since
it was National Trails Day access was free and we didn't need the Forest
Service Pass. But since we hadn't known that, we had the pass anyway.
The trail into Barclay Lake is mostly level and in great shape. About 2/3s
of the way to the lake, the trail crosses Barclay Creek on a log bridge
(with hand rail). Barclay Lake is a popular hike for families and a
popular backpacking destination due to the easy access.
At the lake, we stopped for lunch before we started the hard part of the hike.
While the trail into Barclay Lake is fast, easy, level, and in great shape,
it changes drastically if continuing on to Stone Lake and Eagle Lake.
After eating, we spent some time trying to find the trail to Eagle Lake.
The map at the trailhead seemed to show the trail starting from about half
way down the lake. That's not true. It actually starts somewhat beyond
the east end of the lake. We didn't know that, though, and made a couple
trips along the lake looking for the trail before venturing further and
coming across it.
Calling the path up to Stone Lake a trail is perhaps a bit generous.
It is more like a climber's path or a boot track in many places. It was marked
in places with little rock cairns, but it still required some amount of
route finding. Several times on the way up and once on the way down
we lost the trail and had to backtrack to find it. It doesn't waste
time with niceties like switchbacks, instead forging relatively straight
up the hillside. Fortunately most of the trail was shady, and though
we were pretty sweaty from the climb it wasn't as bad as it could have
been had we been in the direct sun.
At first we thought that almost no one went up to Eagle Lake. We were
later surprised how many people, and even more surprising how many
backpackers, we found along the way and up at Eagle Lake.
About 2/3s the way up the hill we ran into one party that gave us the
useful advice that when the trail splits after Stone Lake, the left fork
goes to Eagle Lake (they had taken the right fork for a while before
determining they were on the wrong trail).
By the time we got to Stone Lake, our knees were sore from the climb,
and we thought about calling it a day and heading down, but the trail
from Stone Lake to Eagle Lake is a relatively short and flat trail across
Paradise Meadow, so we decided to continue.
We were behind a pair of climbers (judging from the gear they were carrying),
and it was a good thing that party on the hillside had given us the advice
to take the left fork. The two climbers took the right fork and without
the earlier advice, we would have likely followed the climbers. The advice
was particularly useful as I didn't have my USGS map with me (since I had
planned on hiking to Blanca Lake (a map I did have) rather than Eagle Lake).
The meadow was open and muddy in places with a number of small streams to
cross. A half mile past Stone Lake you cross through a narrow band of
trees and arrive at Eagle Lake. There were a number of backpackers there
along with some who brought up inflatable tubes and were floating out on
There is a cabin on the side of the lake where a few people can (presumably)
spend the night. Looking inside we saw that someone had carried a guitar
up to the lake. Between the (wet) meadow and the lake it was relatively
buggy by the lake. Had one stayed the night, they would definitely need
insect spray. We had a small second lunch before heading back down.
We stopped at Stone Lake to tighten the laces on our boots (to avoid banging
our toes on the way down). I had worried a bit on the way up about the
way back down. I thought it would be somewhat harder going down the
steeper sections, but I was pleasantly surprised to find it easier than
the way up had been. It was impressive leaving Stone Lake and coming to
the start of the slope where the land just dropped away and you felt
almost like you were going over a cliff.
On our way down there was another group of hikers behind us. I thought they
would pass us, but then about half way down we seemed to separate. They
were off someplace to the west of us. I assumed they had missed the trail
and would have to backtrack to find it. We were on the trail we'd come up
on as we recognized various features and were following the cairns.
Shortly before the lake, we heard that party again (to our west) and
met up with them. It seems they also followed a cairn marked "trail" down
just as we had. Apparently there are a number of "trails" on the hillside.
At the lake we had another snack and loosened the laces on our boots before
heading back to the trailhead and out.
It had been a lovely day and a very nice hike.
Pam crossing the bridge over Barclay Creek.
Pam at Eagle Lake.
Route and elevation plot of hike. Can you find the slope?
Please send comments or corrections to
Last updated on: Mon Jun 8 16:50:16 PDT 2015