Tamarack Swale Trail is a 19.2 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Hat Creek, California that features a great forest setting and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 19.2 miles Elevation Gain: 3,244 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dog friendly


nature trips


bird watching



This loop to Lake Eiler and Barrett Lake is relatively easy with great sites to see and opportunities for fly fishing at Lake Eiler.

Fri Jul 12 2013

It was 107 in Redding but a nice high 80s at Lake Eiler. We backpacked in to Lake Eiler took around 3 hours slow and steady climb from trail head to Lake Eiler (only difficult because of altitude adjustment and being out of shape). Nice camp sites around Lake Eiler and we had successful fly fishing many strikes and 6 caught we kept 3 the first night for dinner and caught and released the rest the next afternoon. They liked black flies the best, had to be floating. The trout would strike right up to the edge of the lake so it didn't require record breaking casts to reach them. We made a base camp at Lake Eiler and did some extended day hikes to Lake Barrett and exploring the other ponds/small lakes. Remote and quiet, over 3 days we saw 4 people and 1 dog. Deer, lots of birds, a few evening bats, and one of the people we met (he was doing the loop as a day hike) had sited a bear after the first mile from the trail head but we didn't see any bears and kept all food in a bear canister just in case. Mosquitoes and flies were heavy at times, 'deep woods off' was our best accessory on the trip. There are camping sites at Lake Barrett also. The trail around the North side of Lake Eiler was impassable because of rock slides. Trail blazing to Box Lake is possible, there are a lot of downed trees/logs (one fell near our campsite while we were there). 9 mile dirt road may require some shoveling to allow a standard car to pass. We got there in a Mustang wasn't too difficult. The first 1/2 mile off the highway steep climb, if you make that there are a couple of washouts where we had to get out and fill in some ruts that were going to bottom us out but didn't take more than 10 minutes at each washout to make the adjustments. The road to the trail head was well marked including a sign on the highway labelled Tamarack Trail head