While Barclay Lake Trail, which leads to the Eagle Lake Trail, is a pleasant and oft-travelled route with well-marked trail signs and a relatively clear surface, the leg that leads to Eagle Lake is difficult to find once you get past the trailhead marker. While on the Barclay Lake Trail, you are surrounded by trillium and ferns as you ascend only 200 feet along Barclay Creek, and dense forest of douglas Fir, cedar and hemlock.
Eagle Lake Trail is hardly marked and is only detectable by stone cairns left by previous hikers, though those hikers willing to meet the challenges of Eagle Lake are few. Once you have found the trail and made your way through the dense forest and unmanicured undergrowth, you'll discover you need to climb several thousand feet almost straight up over a slope littered with fallen boulders and smaller rocks until you reach the lake. Steep and relentless, and sometimes muddy and wet, the Eagle Lake Trail rewards intrepid hikers and their fearless Fidos with a magnificent view of the lake, a rustic old trapper's cabin and lakeside tent camping sites, with the rocky Merchant Peak soaring above.
If you continue climbing a short way more, you'll soon drop down into Paradise Meadows, which lives up to its name, being filled with wildflowers, babbling streams and butterflies. It's here you'll find wild lilies, marsh marigolds, heather, and mountain laurel, along with white and pink shooting stars and elephant's head plants. The meadow is like the icing on a particularly delicious cake.
If you and your pooch are in for a truly challenging and invigorating hike, Eagle Lake is the trail for you!
This trail has muddy, slippery sections, especially after a rainfall, as well as a boulder field to traverse. Wear good quality, sturdy hiking boots and bring rain gear to ward off getting soaked by the shrubs and other undergrowth you'll pass after rain.