Packwood Lake

The trail to Packwood Lake is one of the earliest trails with a “Mountain” feel to melt out in the spring. It’s a 4.5 mile hike to the lake and you can make a loop via the Pipeline Trail back to the trail-head.

View of Johnson Peak from Packwood Lake. Dave Garoutte.

Once you reach Packwood, find Snyder Road (Forest Service Road No. 1260). The 6-mile road is well signed and near the old Packwood Ranger Station (now called Packwood Station). The road is paved and generally free of snow by the end of May.

The trail (Trail No. 78) to Packwood Lake was built in the early 1900s for a hydroelectric project. It is mostly in old-growth forests, much of it within the Goat Rocks Wilderness. In about 4.5 miles you reach the lake. The only structures at the lake today are the Guard Station and a historical Ranger Cabin under restoration.

Packwood Lake, two miles long and 0.6 miles wide, was formed over a thousand years ago when a landslide dammed Lake Creek; the Taidnapam people used the lake as a camping and fishing site. On a clear day there are views of Johnson Peak; even on a cloudy day, hikers will enjoy the view of Agnes Island not too far out from shore.

Packwood Lake Bridge: Dave Garoutte.

Follow the trail along the lake shore to the historical Ranger Cabin, then cross Lake Creek on a sturdy footbridge. A little beyond is the site where a resort once stood. It is also a good place from which to enjoy views of Agnes Island (named for the wife of that long-ago resort owner).

From Packwood, WA travel east on US-12 for a third of a mile and take a right on Snyder Road. Travel for a little less than 1.25 miles and continue onto Forest Road 1260 for another 4.5 miles to the trailhead. Parking is available at the trail-head at the end of Forest Road 1260 about 5 miles out of Packwood. The trail is a 7.5 mile round trip.