Black Lake in Pasayten Wilderness via Lake Creek Trail / 黑湖

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Black Lake in Pasayten Wilderness nestles below its namesake ridge. The beautiful, mile-long lake sits halfway up Lake Creek as well. Meanwhile, the creek makes its way down from Fawn Lake at Ashnola Pass.

Black Lake north end
Black Lake north end

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Black Lake (and Beyond) at a Glance

Access: Lake Creek Trailhead
Round Trip: 16.5 miles
Elevation Range: 3160′-4000′
Gear: none
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: with guidance

Lake Creek Trail

I had a bigger goal for the holiday weekend in Pasayten Wilderness. So the three of us (the dogs and I) started walking bright and early. I expected to see campers here at the least. But there was no one.

We saw only a handful of down trees across the trail. Otherwise, the hike was smooth sailing. The lady I met later told me about the 2003 Farewell Fire in the area. Since then, the crew had only cleared the rubble through to the lake.

Lake Creek Trail
Lake Creek Trail

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Black Lake

Before long, we reached the serene lake at 4.2 miles from the trailhead. Then just past the outlet, we took a spur trail down to the southern shore. From there, I could see clear up to the north end of the water.

Other than a sandy stretch, the east shore was rockier than I had expected. Down trees had inundated the west shoreline. So I didn’t think anyone would go there as it involved crossing Lake Creek.

Black Lake north view
Black Lake north view

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Lake Creek Valley

Had I done my research thoroughly, I likely wouldn’t have come this way. The fact I only found a few reports beyond Black Lake should have raised a big red flag! So we started seeing more down trees not long after leaving the lake.

I decided to continue anyway and see how far we could go. Well, not far! We somehow managed to pole vault our way up the valley for another three miles beyond Black Lake. So it was pretty exhausting.

One bleak future
One bleak future

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Back to Black Lake

At one point, we tried following Lake Creek upstream. Though, it was tedious. Later we went uphill and found the old trail. But the down trees and the overgrowth made it difficult to walk continuously on the otherwise decent path.

It’s mid-afternoon, and we still had another 3+ miles of logs to hop through. But by the time we reached camp, we wouldn’t have much time to do anything. So I decided we’d climb something nearby the following day.

Turning around
Turning around

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Outro

It took us half the time to make the three miles back to Black Lake. There were a few cairns en route. But they weren’t very helpful in guiding our way through the massive crisscrossing logs.

Later we made the rest five miles back to the trailhead. Then the lady from one of the other two cars asked about the trail conditions for her horse. She turned out to be part of the crew working on the Thirtymile Trail. Thank you!

Finding our way home
Finding our way home

See more trip photos here.