dogs on leash
This was an interesting hike. My buddies and I stayed over the weekend at Emerald Lake, which was very low bur still very awesome. When you are at the lake there is not much exploring you can do, for you are inside canyon walls, but we had a great time. The trail is moderate and could be done by kids around twelve and up more easily if you had to go out and back the same day; for younger children be prepared to take your time and stay the night at the lake. Be advised there are only about 3 spots that you could actually camp at. Also, we are always looking for a little more challenge in our hikes so instead of taking the Hoodoo Canyon Trail to Emerald lake we took a left turn at the the sign just across the wood bridge and went nearly straight up to hit the the trail and headed North to Emerald Lake. Beautiful country; always a pleasure to be in God's country.
Nice trail, it has varying details depending on where you look. If you start at the parking lot, and go to the intersection with Kettle Crest Trail, you've covered 5.4 miles out and back. The trail quickly moves to a moderately steep and steady incline, then concludes with breaking out of the woods to more moderate switchbacks, which makes for a very nice trail (most strenuous first, then easier). The views begin to open up as you reach the large switchbacks, and you can see for a long ways (see panoramic shot).
A word of caution - using the directions from the app leads to the Trout Lake campground, which is described in the "100 Hikes in the Inland Northwest" hiking guide as an optional alternative route to Emerald Lake that is "an easier trail, well-constructed but less scenic" than the route through Hoodoo Canyon that starts from the north end and includes a view of Lily Lake.
To be fair, I wasn't able to find the actual trailhead at either end, and eventually gave up, so I can't speak to the quality of the hike either way.
This trail is a well maintained trail. Expect some scree on the last section actually summiting Columbia Mountain. On top you will find the ruins of the old fire lookout and a salvaged structure that the local backcountry horseman rebuilt a few years ago. This would be a great place to camp for the night.
Paul H. on Hoodoo Canyon Trail
Good hike. Fun swimming hole. Fun rock formation to jump off of. Bring some water shoes though, ground mostly covered in sharp rocks.
Trail was easy enough my 2 and 1 yr old could do it just fine. But we only made it up 3 miles before we stumbled upon a bear and had to turn around. Around 2 miles up the trail had a few down trees blocking the path. There is a sign that has fallen down showing a different path, do not follow that sign, but continue straight. Loved what we seen. Will be going back later.
Rebeca C. on Hoodoo Canyon Trail
This place is so worth the hike! The water is very refreshing, and the scenery is amazing! Definitely worth the time.