Lake Constance Trail is a 12.1 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Brinnon, Washington that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until October.
Strenuous route mostly paralleling Constance Creek. Ends at Lake Constance. 2 mile, 3400 ft. route terminating at Lake Constance. Wilderness Permit required for overnights at Lake Constance.
Biked/scrambled/hiked to Lake Constance back at the end of July with my brother and dad (63 yo mountain man going strong)
We cut time on the first few miles by taking our bikes; be careful traversing across the road washout with them in hand.
I loved the ascent to the lake. The mix of hiking/scrambling made it rather enjoyable despite minimal viewpoints. The old growth forest along the stream is gorgeous and refreshing. We also cut off to the right at one point where the trail became a bit confusing to follow - look for the red metal markers on the trees - and scrambled up under a waterfall. Gorgeous!
The descent was a killer on the knees and required watching your feet, a bit slick with the dry dirt and rock the last 1/3rd.
Biking back to the car was a win. Less than 15 min!
Go explore, find how Constance is for yourselves :)
Extremely difficult. Lots of downed trees. several spots where 50 feet of rope would come in handy to leave your hands free for climbing.
Very nice lake but all the trail is under the trees and no view point during the way up. And it's a very hard trail.
Lake Constance, or Lake Constant, as I like to call it (and how I remember it's name), is a physically demanding destination that is well worth the effort.
GETTING TO THE TRAILHEAD: Take Dosewallips Rd. from Highway 101. The road will eventually become Forest Road 2610 and you will cross over a washout (take it slow) until you reach the end. From here, you have a choice: hike or bike for ~4 miles on the old road to the trailhead. I highly suggest bringing a mountain bike!! Walk up a short but steep detour which takes you up and around the river to the road. The road is in great condition and is very wide in most spots. It is mostly uphill to the trailhead, so I only ended up biking 1/3 of it and just walking alongside my bike the remainder. 100 feet past the second wooden bridge, look to your right and there will be two brown posts and a nice bold sign to help mark the Lake Constance trailhead.
THE TRAIL & LAKE: You will gain 3,300 feet of elevation in 2 miles, passing through 3 pretty distinct sections. The first 3/4 of a mile is very steep and exposed due to a forest fire back in 2009. The second part of your journey isn't quite as steep (enjoy while you can) and you are welcomed by the cover of the forest canopy, mossy surroundings and the sight of massive rocks among the trees. The third and final stage is the steepest and most technical, where you will have to use roots and rocks to scramble at times. The trail gets harder to follow the closer you get to the lake, so keep your eyes peeled for red markers and pink ribbon on the trees. Don't ever cross the creek (dry or flowing) on your ascent - keep it to your right.
At the top you are welcomed to the calming turquoise waters of Lake Constance, and the surrounding peaks, crags and avalanche shoots. I traveled around the entire edge of the lake and would advise against exploring the Western side as it steepens and becomes thick with vegetation. There are 4 camp sites, a toilet and a bear wire on the North end of the lake. It's a deep lake and there are fish visible near the shores and jumping farther out. No other visitors on this day, which is exactly what I was expecting and hoping for.
TIMELINE: Started at 7:05 am from the parking lot. Made it to the Lake Constance trailhead by 8:00 am. Arrived at the lake at 10:20 am, explored the shores and enjoyed the views. Started down the trail at 1:30 pm. Made it down to road at 2:45 pm. Finally, back to the car in only 20 minutes (3:05 pm), thanks in large part to coasting downhill on my mountain bike. Another plug: Bring your bike!
Definitely a tough trail. The elevation gain is crazy compared to the actual length of the trail. Lake Constance is gorgeous and worth it!
I didn't expect how tough this hike was, even with the warnings of family members! The site at the top made it well worth the effort!
The hardest day hike I've done so far, but I would do it again.
I first encountered this "trail" 30 years ago when I was relatively young and reckless. We left Olympia at 4 AM and were at the trailhead just after first light. There were three of us and we were planning to climb Mt. Constance, so we got an early start.
Calling this way up a trail is like calling a ladder a sidewalk. One of the most difficult, green, wet and pillow-layva infested ways up the side of a mountain in an area known for it's challenging terrain. The lake was very beautiful and serene when we passed it early in the morning. We summited Constance at noon, but coming out we made a wrong turn and didn't get back to the lake until about 10PM. Being short of headlights and totally exhausted, we spent the dark hours huddled together out of the wind at the edge of the Lake, savoring our cool alpine experience and worrying our loved ones. I discovered the trip down was even worse on my body than the hike up - of course, I discover that every trip.
Hiked up to Lake Constance today 9-4-13. We started the 2 mile battle just before 8:00 a.m. and arrived at about 10:30 a.m. Just a day hike so our packs were pretty light. The hike was not east but totally worth it. Up, up, up you climb. You have to use your hands quite a bit. Had to be very careful too no rushing, this trail could definitely hurt you. To many cool things to describe as far as the scenery, but just what you expect in the Olympic National Park. You get to enjoy the sound of water the whole hike as you stay pretty close to Constance Creek. The Lake itself was beautiful. The water was a great clear dark turquoise color. Saw a few trout swimming around. Views of Mount Constance and other peaks can be seen. Overall really happy with the hike.
Tip: the road to the trailhead has been washed out for sometime...we mountain biked 3.5 miles from parking to the trail. And on the way out the bikes are a blessing, downhill back to the vehicle.
Yea the description above is perfect. I did not get to the top but would not suggest it with out a group even though i went solo. also if you have any leg issues(i have a bad knee) really would not suggest it more on the downward descent. it's a bit tougher on the way down if your legs are starting to act up. The trail is kind of tough to follow in some parts but for a novice it wasn't terrible. The views are gorgeous even just for the river and if you have a group would defiantly suggest it. oh took me 3.5 hours to get up about 1.5 miles(i hope not fantastic at reading topo maps)
***note: There is no trail to Lake Constance. It is a "route" which travels up a steep gully burned in 2009. The way is marked by ribbon, but does not follow a constant path. At times you may find yourself looking around for signs of direction. Route-finding skills are mandatory. It is arduous, and at some places dangerous, due to exposure and the possibility of loosened and falling rocks. Only those in groups and with excellent physical ability should attempt this hike.
Drive to Dose washout, 10 miles from Brinnon. Hike starts at the bypass of the washout and follows the road for 3.6 miles. Biking this portion can save at least an hour off your roundtrip time and is fun on the return half. Leave the abandoned road at Constance Creek, formerly marked by a sign reading "Constance Route, 3400 feet gain", and follow flag markers. The first of two miles climbs relentlessly upward through recently burned forest. Be careful, as erosion is taking its toll here on the severly steep, unprotected slopes. After a grueling mile the way levels out next to the creek, which is a raging torrent on hot days, and a good camp site for those who do not wish to lug their packs up the remaining treacherous mile. This second half of the hike leaves the creek entirely at a spot most will find unfriendly to those with fears of heights or falling. The trail zigzags, always upwards, through rocky walls littered with forest debris. Careful footing is necessary for safe travel. You'll feel elated when you step up to a mound before Lake Constance, cross the creek that drains the lake, and meander around the shore. Hearty folk might continue up the deep valley north of the lake as far as their abilities allow. Views are best at the lake, and flat ground affording a nap is in abundance. Camping is on north shore in woods.