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. This beautiful, mile-long lake sits halfway up the valley and gets its water source from Lake Creek. Meanwhile, the creek comes down from Fawn Lake at Ashnola Pass.

Black Lake north end
Black Lake north end

See more trip photos here.

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.

Other than a handful of down trees across the trail, 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 up to the lake.

Lake Creek Trail
Lake Creek Trail

See more trip photos here.

Black Lake

Before long, we had reached the serene lake 4.2 miles in from the trailhead. Shortly past the outlet, we took a spur trail down to the southern shore. From there, I could see clear up to the north end a mile away.

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

Black Lake north view
Black Lake north view

See more trip photos here.

Lake Creek Valley

Had I done my research thoroughly, I likely wouldn’t have come this way. I only found a few reports beyond Black Lake should’ve 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

See more trip photos here.

Back to Black Lake

At one point, we even tried following Lake Creek upstream, but it was tedious. We later went uphill and found the old trail covered in down trees. The overgrowth also made it challenging to walk on the otherwise decent path.

It’s mid-afternoon, and we still had to hop through 3-plus miles of logs. But by the time we reached camp, we wouldn’t have much time to do anything else. 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. For us to even notice the few cairns en route was surprising. But they didn’t help guide our way through the massive crisscrossing logs.

We hiked five miles back to the trailhead. Then the lady from one of the other two cars asked about the trail 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.

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