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Ashland Lakes Trail

MODERATE 92 reviews

Ashland Lakes Trail is a 5.1 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Granite Falls, Washington that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 5.1 miles Elevation Gain: 826 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

forest

lake

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

Directions from Verlot: Travel east on the Mt. Loop Hwy. for 4.5 miles. Turn right on the Schweitzer Creek Rd. #4020 and continue 2.3 miles to the Bear Lake Rd. #4021 and then follow this road for 1.5 miles to the junction with Forest Rd. #4021016. Turn left and follow this road to the end. You must walk 1 mile on the abandoned road to the trailhead on your left at the junction.Users have reported high clearance vehicles may be necessary for the road to the trail.

flooded
4 days ago

Warning: the plank walkways during the wet season are pretty hazardous. especially up near the lakes. There are a few sections where the wood is covered with steel mesh, but the rest felt like walking on icey pavement. A good chunk of the walkway at the end of Lower Ashland lake was flooded. Other than that, super pretty hike. as others mentioned, the drive in is brutal - bring something with high clearance and drive slowly.

hiking
1 month ago

The 3.9 miles of dirt road leading to the trail is a nightmare and in dire need of maintenance! Lots of very large potholes. Recommended only for vehicles with high clearance. The hike is really beautiful with three picturesque lakes, each with it's own toilet and camping spots, although the miles of planks can get very slippery when wet.

hiking
1 month ago

Road up has plenty of deep potholes. Parking was pretty limited, and I would download the satellite map before you go so you know which paths to follow. There is a outhouse at the trail head and one at upper and lower Ashland (none at the first little lake). While this trail has A LOT of the “walk the plank!” style boards, we still found ourselves watching our feet more than getting to look and enjoy the views. It is stumpy and rocky the whole way. We had a lot of fun climbing up with the dogs though... it was slippery and very muddy... still had such a fun time. There are cute docks at each lake and AWESOME spots to camp! Made for awesome lunch spots and even have fire rings and benches at each spot!!! There was 1 port-oh-potty along the second and third lake... not maintained or clean inside, but they’re there. We got to the trailhead at 11 and left around 3. It was a Tuesday, we passed two groups on our way out but we never saw or heard anyone else. This hike wouldn’t be great for kids, but it’s definitely a fun one if you like climbing rocks and fooling around. Our tracker got us both with around 6.5 miles and 790’ elevation gain... we definitely did a lot of the side trails and explored too.

hiking
2 months ago

Road was pretty bad, but my Crosstrek was fine for it. It was very quiet in the morning with numerous frogs out. The lakes and campsites were pleasant. Seems like a popular place to camp with kids. We pushed on to the unmaintained Twin Falls which were really the climax of the trip and quite beautiful. I don't recommend that part of the trail as we took some damage and could probably only do the river crossing because water is pretty low. It would be great if the whole length was maintained.

hiking
2 months ago

Somehow through the grace of God got my 2003 Subaru Legacy to the trailhead bit it was 4 miles and 25 minutes of hell doing it. It is a disgrace the USFS doesn’t at least try to maintain the road. We got as far as Beaver Lake before my 14- year-old collapsed. I did not think it was that family friendly a trail. Kind of steep for us. The trail itself was nicely maintained it we will not be back.

hiking
3 months ago

Unless you have a raised truck or a generally high clearance vehicle, it’s essentially impossible to get to the trailhead. Honestly, I can’t even say that a standard Subaru Outback could handle those pot holes. Really disappointed we had to turn around only 1/2 way up he road to the trailhead. :( Really, really bad!

hiking
5 months ago

Road up off of Mountain Loop Hwy is pretty dicey, lots of potholes, but a friend of mine made it up in her little Saturn, so just drive slow, and you’ll probably be alright. Trail itself was well maintained, and absolutely beautiful. We backpacked in (carrying probably more than we should’ve), and camped at the first lake. We were worn out from the uphill parts, and stairs, in the second half, but it’s completely doable, even with a heavy load on your shoulders. The parking lot was pretty full when we got there, but it can fit around 10 or so cars. When we got to the lake, after passing a few groups coming down, we were the only ones there, and the only ones who were camping. It was amazing, all around beautiful, and I cannot wait to come back and camp at one of the lakes higher up.

hiking
5 months ago

Trail was in decent shape. The lake was pretty but nothing compared to other alpine lakes like Lake 22 or Heather Lake.

hiking
muddy
rocky
5 months ago

Great hike! Before you decide to hike this one, make sure you drive a vehicle with a high enough clearance. The 1-2ish mi drive to the trailhead has a lot of deep pot holes and bumps. An SUV or truck should do the trick. All trails says its 5.1 miles but I hiked around 7mi. Its a on the easier side of a moderate high. A good hike to start the summer season with. Lots of flowers/ lillies lining the boardwalk to the 3 lakes. The sitting place at the third lake is a great place to have lunch if you get their early. Took me about 2 hours to get there as I spent more time taking pics of flowers and the lakes. I would say its kid friendly as I saw a lot of families doing the hike together.

backpacking
muddy
washed out
5 months ago

Hiked in, planning to stay the night, but got rained out at Lower Ashland Lake. The trail itself is really well maintained, and a lot of love has gone into creating the boardwalks around the marsh. As others have said, the road is rough, and I'd not recommend anyone try it unless they have a vehicle with good clearance. Definitely coming back come summer, and hoping for better weather!

backpacking
bugs
6 months ago

We took the forest road using a nice large suv that has raised clearance. The roads were pretty scary. We saw a Camry up at the trailhead and didn’t understand how they got there. We took our 5 and 6 year old out to lower Ashland lake and it was a great technical trail for them. Then we camped out at the lake. The frogs were in full force all night and it was wonderful. There’s no snow, and the trail has several changes in topography, making for a very interesting hike. The bugs weren’t too bad. But the closer you are to the marshy areas, the worse they got. They were gnats, and not mosquitos. There are two raised camp pads at lower Ashland lake. We couldn’t fit our 4 person tent on it. We only found one spot that was suitable, thankfully but it was on the ground and damp. I don’t know how difficult that would be during peak season to find a spot. We saw a few spots up at beaver plant lake that looked better to camp on. It’s not the best type of camping next to these lakes because the ground is marshy. If you see a spot at beaver plant lake, I recommend claiming a spot there and then day hike to the other lakes.

6 months ago

We didn't actually make it to Ashland Lakes this trip. My low clearance Ford Fusion sedan did fine through the giant potholes but about 1.5 miles from NF 4021 there was a washout I just wasn't brave enough to drive through. so we parked and walked. we did about 3 miles total, up to the turnoff to NF 4021. the road itself is beautiful with waterfalls, pretty rocks and old growth stumps so we did enjoy it. On our way up we passed a car that wasn't much taller than mine headed back down so I probably could have made it. but next time I try it I will do so with the higher clearance vehicle!

blowdown
bugs
off trail
over grown
rocky
6 months ago

Trail extension to Twin Falls Lake almost gone. Loop trail around Upper Ashland lake is blocked by blowdown on one end, and outflow creek on the other. Still a great hike, 3 high lakes in under 7 miles round trip.

6 months ago

trail was good today 5-11-18

hiking
snow
6 months ago

The road up has some snow and would be really difficult to drive up if you don’t have an SUV or vehicle with clearance. We lost traction once in the snow but otherwise the road was fine, just filled with potholes, which is typical. The hike itself was nice, definitely on the easier end of “moderate.” There is still snow on some parts of the trail and we fell into (just up to our knees) some of the drifts where you can’t tell where the planks are underneath. We got there at 9:30 am and didn’t see anyone until we returned to the trailhead around 11:30, then saw a few cars headed up on our way down.

camping
snow
6 months ago

After 1/4 mile past turnoff towards Ashland and Bear lakes there are some pretty deep snow drifts. Needed high clearance 4x4, snow tires and rear locker to break through up to the trailhead. Road up to Bear lake looked even deeper snow. The trail itself was off and on snow. A lot of the boardwalks were totally covered with snow drifts so still hard to tell where you are walking. Nice hike in, camped at Beaver plant lake. Woke up at 4 am to snow. Snowed for 6 hours, and was still snowing when I left. Maybe still a little early for most.

hiking
10 months ago

Got on the trail around 10:30 am. It was very snowy. Once we got towards the top you can branch off to the Upper Ashland Lakes (.2 mi) or Lower Ashland Lakes (1 mi). We headed towards the Upper Lakes but with all the snow it was hard to see the trail. We weren't able to find the trail with all the snow so we turned back and didn't do the extra mile to the Lower Lakes. We ended up stopping at Beaver Lake on the way down and it was absolutely beautiful. Loved the hike, but be warned the road has multiple potholes going up and then deep snow, so make sure you have the right car for it.

hiking
11 months ago

Great trail to some nice lakes. Easy to get to, nothing strenuous, lots of board walks that could be very slippery in wet weather/light snow. We hit a dusting of snow at Beaver Lake. Past Beaver Lake is where the majority of the board walks are, so we put on our "yak-trax" and had no issue. Very lightly trafficked - we saw only 1 other couple the entire time, while at Lake Twenty-Two, that parking lot was overflowing with cars - I can't imagine how crowded that trail was. Regarding the road: yes, monster DEEP pot-holes, they'll swallow your car, certain destruction, stay-away!!! ;^) Seriously, it appears some people expect these roads to be like a city street all the way to the trailhead. It's a FOREST ROAD for crying out loud! This is a typical FOREST ROAD with pot holes and water - the majority have that. If you have issues with potholes and water, then please stay home. Anyone with the slightest amount of common sense could easily get a Honda Civic to the trailhead with no issues.

walking
Sat Sep 08 2018

Found this hike on accident. I went on a Tuesday so there was no body the whole time! the lake was beautiful and the trail was very easy to stay on!

Thu Aug 09 2018

Went the end of July, bug spray and watch out for horse flies.. Went over night hike, it was very enjoyable. We also started to do the other trail first the bald mountain trail, not maintained at all we got to The point where you had to make your own trail. Also with fresh cougar tracks we were ok turned around about 3 miles into it. Yas the road sucks to the trail. No need for a forest pass although it’s always a good idea to have. Doing the trail again nice little hike to do with friends and kids easy and enjoyable.

hiking
Mon Jul 23 2018

It’s a pretty hike but I probably wouldn’t do this one again because of the road. We thought the previous reviews were exaggerating how bad it is. They aren’t. Parking wasn’t an issue for us on a Sunday morning. There’s a nice boardwalk throughout much of the trail, and the bugs weren’t too bad once we put some bug repellent on. Lots of blueberries and salmon berries to snack on along the way too!

backpacking
Fri Jul 06 2018

I feel like you can’t start a trip report from Ashland Lakes without talking about the road. Yep, it’s every bit as bad as every other report says it is. For reference, I drove a Toyota Tundra to the trailhead. One of the potholes was big enough to fit the entire truck. Seriously. All four tires were in. It was also filled with water so it was like driving through a pond. That said, just drive slow. Most cars can make it. We arrived at the trailhead at 11:00 on a Saturday morning and there were no parking spaces available. So I kept driving and found a pullout about two hundred feet further down the road with room for about two vehicles. Speaking of parking, remember that this is a Washington Discover Pass trailhead. I noticed about half the cars were sporting Northwest Forest Passes hanging from their mirrors, even though there is a giant sign as you enter the parking area reminding you that you need a Discover Pass. Kudos to the guy who had both a Northwest Forest Pass and a Discover Pass in his window. Way to cover your bases! And shame on the two vehicles that didn’t show any pass… may karma and a ranger catch up to them. Anyway, hitting the trail, the first half mile or so are easy going. You’ll come to a nice sturdy bridge crossing a creek. After that it starts to climb a bit and the trail becomes rougher. There’s plenty of slippery boardwalk (I slipped twice over the course of the weekend), exposed roots, and slippery rocks. I was with a group of Boy Scouts ranging in age from 11 to 15 and they all navigated it like they were pros. The first lake is Beaver Plant Lake, it was my favorite of the three. There are a couple of campsites here, but none are suitable for a group so we had to keep moving. But if you are looking for a nice place to camp, there is an especially nice site for just one tent that’s next to the creek at the outlet of the lake. It’s a short and easy hike from Beaver Plant to Upper Ashland Lake. Upper Ashland has more campsites, and they were mostly full when we got there. So we decided to head down to Lower Ashland. The descent was relatively steep, so we were hopeful that we’d find a spot to camp there since we weren’t looking forward to carrying our heavy packs back up the hill the same day. We were starting to get discouraged when we got to the lower lake and found the first campsite taken. It was a fairly large site that had exactly one tent in it. We kept going and found a much larger campsite just down the trail. For reference, we had five tents in our group. Later in the evening a large family came in looking for a spot. We shared the space with them, they had four tents. We probably could have fit two more tents in the area if needed. So if you are hiking with a group Lower Ashland Lake should be your destination. Sunday morning we hiked out, and when we got back to the trailhead the parking lot was even more full than the day before. On our way back down the mountain we passed seven more cars headed up. Apparently being featured as Craig Romano’s Hike of the Week have given this hike some new popularity. Then again, it was nothing like the mess at Lake Twentytwo that we passed on our way home…

hiking
Sun Jul 01 2018

This is a pretty easy hike overall. With only 600 ft or so of elevation gain I think it is a stretch to call it moderate. My GPS cloaked the out and back at 4.5 miles. The trail itself if easy to follow and is well maintained overall. It was raining pretty good when we went but if the weather had been clear then I might have tackled some of the smaller lakes along the way as well. Maybe another time? We didn't see many people out hiking but there were a few groups camping near the lake. The road up is another story; I wouldn't recommend tackling this unless you had 4WD or AWD. Lots of pot holes on the way up to the trailhead. Overall, I'd recommend this hike.

hiking
Sat Sep 23 2017

BEAUTIFUL, magical place! It gets a 4 only due to the road up...TERRIBLE! I know the forest service is busy, but give that road some ♡ especially because there is more than 1 trail up it! I loved all the boardwalks, and the neon green from the vegetation at the first lake was gorgeous! We only saw a 2 other people and some campers! It was a peaceful, perfect day! :)

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