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Packwood Lake Trail is a 11.9 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Packwood, 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 October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 11.9 mi Elevation gain 1,843 ft Route type Out & Back
Dogs on leash Kid friendly Backpacking Camping Fishing Hiking Horseback riding Running Forest Lake Views Wild flowers Wildlife Bugs Muddy
Description
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Facilities
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Getting There

A beautiful lake and the perfect setting for a picnic. The view as the lake opens is an unexpected feast for the senses. Lots of dogs and families on the trail and at the lake.

A federal Northwest Forest Pass is required to park here

Gifford Pinchot National Forest Cowlitz Valley Ranger Station 10024 U.S. 12 Randle, WA 98377 Tel: 360.497.1100

From Randle, east 16 miles to Packwood. Turn right on Forest Service Road 1260 (near the ranger station) and drive south 5 miles to the trailhead at the end of the road.

Weather
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Daylight
Reviews (506)
Photos (454)
Recordings (343)
Completed (942)
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Ashley Belline
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 21, 2020
Backpacking

Great hike for beginner backpackers. Beautiful view and lake with easy elevation.

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Karis Sevigny
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 19, 2020
Hiking
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Roscoe P. Coldchain
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 16, 2020
Bird WatchingBugsOver grown

Arrived Monday morning 9:30am. Only 3 cars in the lot. Very easy hike & definitely family friendly. Unfortunately there was a TREMENDOUS amount of wildfire smoke at the lake. It was nice because we had the entire lake to ourselves for about 2 hours. When we started heading back (1pm) we passed about 20 people who were heading to the lake so the trail was much busier than before. I also received a $5 citation because I did not have to proper parking permit. Overall will do the hike again once weather clears up

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Brandon Erickson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 11, 2020
BackpackingGreat!

Sept 11-12, 2020. Very smoky; could hardly see across the lake. The trail is great (I think “moderate” is appropriate when carrying a heavy pack) and there are many awesome campsites. One tree had recently fallen across the trail a couple miles from the trailhead, and a second tree fell into a campsite the day before (per the current occupants who said they were around when it happened), blocking the trail and forcing you into the campsite to continue along the lake. The lake was warm enough for a morning swim. Campfire ban was in effect and forest service representative did a daily check of occupied sites, including looking into the fire pit. I hope to do this again when the smoke is gone. AllTrails app did not seem reliable for this trail. My distance traveled, per the app via the recorder, was not even close to the mileage corresponding to my location/mileage on the “planned elevation.” My iPhone health app agreed with the recorder distance. The distance to the lake presented at the trailhead did not agree with the app either. I think the app underreports the actual mileage. I forgot to stop the recorder once I found my campsite (I checked my mileage at that point). By the time I realized it the app said I had traveled another 3 miles, but I never left the campsite site . And finally, I kept getting off trail notices even though I never left the trail. Anyways, a great spot and a trail worth doing at least once.

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Crysta Maniscalco
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 7, 2020
BackpackingGreat!

We backpacked this one night over Labor Day Weekend. There are a ton of great camping sites along the lake, of course with the holiday weekend almost all were taken, so we had to go to the end of the lake, right before the trail starts veering off the lake and into the woods. We got a great spot on the water, however, even with views of Rainier! The hike is very very moderate, I would almost classify as easy. The trail is well maintained and everyone is considerate with masking up and stepping off trail for passing. The lake was actually warm! Perfect for cooling off after a hot hike in. Bugs were not a problem at all.

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Andrea Faust
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 7, 2020
Hiking

I don't know why this hike is categorized as moderate. It's definitely an easy hike to the lake. The mosquitos are gone now.

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kathy wright
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 4, 2020
Hiking

This was a great trail! Although it's rated as moderate, it was more the length that made it other than easy. Uphill climbs were gentle. The trail was mostly through woods, until you get to the lake, which was beautiful.

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Randi Neff
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 4, 2020
HikingBugsMuddy

Competed 5/24 (sorry catching up). Great trail for anyone if you take your time.

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Vince Cats
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 4, 2020
Hiking

Good walking to a superb lake. The view once arrived is really nice and it’s like walking to a point ! Not crowded when I went ! Too bad it’s not a loop !

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Max Freeman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 31, 2020
Hiking

It is a dope hike, nothing to crazy. Amazing lake, and def going to over night here next year. Some bugs, bring a towel, and plenty of spaces to have lunch.

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Nicole Rodriguez
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 31, 2020
Hiking

One of my favorite hikes! Used to hike it all the time as a teenager. The lake is breathtaking, and freezing! But so worth the hike! Watch out for bugs at certain times of the year.

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Carly Summers
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 31, 2020
Walking

The trail is well-maintained and easy to navigate. My wife and I made it a day trip and we were so happy we went. The hike went quick and the lake is an amazing reward.

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Leslie Knoepfel
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 30, 2020
Hiking

The trail in my opinion is not for children under 10 or more than one dog, some spots are very narrow and it just drops off, we have 2 larger breeds and they could barely walk next to one another without slipping off a few times!! Talk about anxiety!!! We actually didn’t make it to the lake because it just got to narrow for our dogs to walk next to one another and I am pregnant so I didn’t want to chance walking one of them in the narrow areas. We made it about 2 miles in! It is super pretty though! We may go back to do the Atv/horse trail instead which is just a wider version of the walking trail. If you are not in shape/scared of heights, have children under 10, I would not recommend this trail! However, the atv trail could be a better option but we ran out of daylight to try it!

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Cece Bailey
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 26, 2020
Hiking

Great hike! It is long, so make sure to get an early start. Lots of beautiful camping spots if you decide to stay a night. We brought our dog and kids and had a lot of fun swimming in the lake!

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Filipe Calasans
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 25, 2020
HikingGreat!

We hit the trail head around 4pm, we took almost 2:30h to get to the lake. We spent approx. 45min enjoying the lake views and had to come back so we wouldn’t have to do the trail after the sunset. We were back around 8pm. For those not very used to trails, I would recommend to start this trail earlier so you can have time to rest and enjoy the lake. The trail is definitely easy if you are used to do long trails. Most of it is flat without a lot of elevation gains. If you want to enjoy the lake start in the morning, spend the afternoon there and come back around 3pm, 4pm. The lake view is astonishing, the camp site has a lot of space and is very well maintained. As we did the trail on Tuesday afternoon, we were completely alone on the trail. We met only two couples coming back.

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Quintin Leaks
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 24, 2020
HikingGreat!

amazing trail, the lake was very beautiful, looking forward to going again soon.

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Greg Young
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarAugust 23, 2020
HikingGreat!Muddy

We saw other reviewers mentioning this was an easy trail, and our end goal was a dip in the lake, so we were not expecting or prepared for all the ups and downs along the way. This would be a great trail to use for backpacking and an overnight by the lake, but not the best for a day trip unless you start early and are prepared for at least 3-4 hours of hiking.

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Marilynn Lamb
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 22, 2020
HikingGreat!MuddyRocky

Such a great hike! Definitely one I’d come back to and would stay a couple nights!

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Sylvia Withers
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 17, 2020
HikingGreat!

Great easy trail we took out 4 yr old , you still get an incline and feel the elevation and broke a sweat, beautiful scenery and not too many people for a Saturday. Make sure you pay for your parking pass online, they do check and will issue a ticket.

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Viraj Deshpande
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 17, 2020
CampingBugsFeeGreat!

We did backpacking and a night stay here. Trail is amazingly packed with the trees throughout, fully shaded except may be one or two spots. (I guess that's why it's called Packwoods?). Trial is fairly flat with bit of ups and downs. I would personally categories this in Easy than Moderate. The lake is good for swimming. There were bunch of teens jumping off the bridge into the water. Jump is ~5 ft and water ~10 ft deep. There were few folks using inflatables for a short tubing ride in a lake. There are bugs all around but nothing too serious so definitely carry a good bug spray. There aren't many creeks along so make sure carry enough water supply. If you are staying overnight there are plenty of spots to put up your tent.

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Brittney Shank
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 16, 2020
Hiking

Little harder then expected! But the views where great

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Kristen Falecki
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 15, 2020
Hiking

The trail was great for backpacking. It was a flat trail with lots of turns. On the way back you may be challenged a bit because of the small incline, but nothing too difficult.

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Louise Allshouse
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarAugust 15, 2020
Hiking

I think the elevation gain posted for this hike is wrong. We hiked it today and our devices recorded it at 600 some feet of elevation gain which seemed more like it. Also WTA app says 600 feet. At any rate it was a beauty, very hot today so we enjoyed the shade that was provided almost the entire way! Ranger at the lake is very helpful! Give him 4 stars!!!

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