Barclay Lake, Washington, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - West - Washington - Seattle & Puget Sound -

Barclay Lake plays a larger part in the recreational opportunities of the Seattle and Puget Sound region of Washington than its size would indicate. Just over 10 acres in size, Barclay Lake is the destination of one of the most popular family hiking trails in the new Wild Sky Wilderness. Wild Sky was designated in 2008 as a part of the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest and will be developed only to the extent that several trails will be minimally maintained. The Barclay Lake Trail is popular as it is only a little over two miles long, mostly flat and suitable for families with young children to reach a scenic destination with minimal effort. Tucked between towering Merchant Peak and Baring Mountain, the lake reflects the majesty of the area’s mountain terrain.

The wide, well-maintained trail to Barclay Lake gains only 225 feet in elevation, with the highest point 2425 feet above sea level. Cedar boardwalks make easy going across marshy areas, and a sturdy bridge spans Barclay Creek. The trail passes meadows carpeted with wildflowers in the spring and meanders underneath towering old-growth trees and majestic pines. Following Barclay Creek, the trail is shaded by Gunn Peak on the north, with Merchant Peak soon coming into view. Baring Mountain doesn’t fully show itself until the trail reaches the lake, then towers over the water in awesome splendor, dominating the landscape.

Little more than a wide spot in Barclay Creek, Barclay Lake is shallow, creating excellent wading and swimming areas for children on their first real hike. Several established camping spots exist, but hikers can camp anywhere here, as long as they are at least 50 feet from the water’s edge. Campfires are allowed, as is fishing for the many rainbow trout. Barclay Lake and the Barclay Lake Trail are the perfect places to introduce young children to wilderness hiking and camping. Artists and those who appreciate nature gravitate to Barclay Lake for its serenity and beautiful scenery. A Northwest Forest Pass is required for most access.

Barclay Lake isn’t just for beginner trekkers. Other, more strenuous trails continue past Barclay Lake to Stone Lake and Eagle Lake. These trails, although short, are more rugged with greater elevation change. Many hikers heading into the higher, rougher terrain camp the night at Barclay Lake before continuing on. All trails begin at the trailhead which is accessible by passenger car during the summer months. The trails are sometimes accessed with snowshoes during calm winter weather, but the road to the trailhead is often impassible for vehicles. The last vestige of civilization is the little settlement of Baring, three miles by road from the trailhead. Baring offers a small convenience store which serves freshly-prepared food and most of the necessities area visitors find they need. A number of rental cabins are located near Baring and are used as home base for those vacationing in the area.

Located about 40 miles east of the City of Everett, Baring is located at the confluence of several well-known natural and man-made features. Located on the south fork of the Skykomish, a Washington State Scenic River, Baring is on the Cascades Loop Highway in Stevens Pass. The pass is home to several well-known ski areas and famed for the abandoned Great Northern Railway route that first crossed the Cascades nearby. The scenery and rugged peaks of the 106,577-acre Wild Sky Wilderness attract the type of outdoors adventurers who enjoy a challenging terrain amid beautiful vistas. Besides primitive camping opportunities on surrounding public lands, the area around Baring offers a variety of activities to please vacationers. Trail-riding by horseback is available nearby in the small town of Gold Bar, 13 miles to the west of Baring. Gold Bar also offers four restaurants, a motel and outfitters prepared to introduce visitors to a variety of outdoor adventures. West of Gold Bar, white-water rafting on the main branch of the Skykomish River can be either a bring-your-own-equipment adventure or one organized and provisioned by area outfitters. Some parts of the river are suitable for family float trips.

The town of Index south of Baring offers rock climbing on the 500-foot Index Town Wall. Visitors can also climb the rugged trail to overlook the wall and river valley. Abandoned logging roads make for great mountain biking in many areas. Near the town of Skykomish, the accessible Iron Goat Trail follows and overlooks the precarious route of the abandoned Great Northern Railway, including its avalanche sheds and the old Cascades Tunnel. Numerous hiking trails lead to waterfalls and scenic overlooks, making every day spent near Barclay Lake an adventure in unspoiled natural surroundings. Located close to Everett and Seattle, this area of the Cascades is easily accessed for a day or a much longer vacation. Some real estate is available in and around the small towns in the area, but National Forest lands contain few private in-holdings for sale. Private guest cottages and cabins can be found in some of the most scenic locations outside of the national forest boundaries. The Barclay Lake Trail and Wild Sky Wilderness are the perfect places to relax, reset your priorities and refresh your soul.

* Few statistics are available for Barclay Lake. Most are derived from the reports of hikers familiar with the area.

Things to do at Barclay Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Swimming
  • Camping
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Rock Climbing
  • Biking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Waterfall
  • Birding
  • National Forest

Fish species found at Barclay Lake

  • Rainbow Trout
  • Trout

Barclay Lake Photo Gallery

Barclay Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 11 acres

Shoreline Length: 1 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 2,300 feet

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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