Barclay Lake: An easy hike for all ages

I’m having a hard time focusing lately, because all I want to do is hike. Hike, hike, hike.

On Tuesday, my friend Katie and I found some time to hit the trail. We couldn’t decide where we wanted to go, so we asked my daughter, 3, to decide for us. She said she wanted to see a lake, so we headed up to Barclay Lake.

Barclay Lake is an easy hike. It’s only 4 miles round trip, and the elevation gain is minimal. It’s a great hike for all ages. My daughter was the youngest on the trail that day. We also passed a group of older hikers out for the day. I was pleased to see them; I hope I’m still hiking when I’m their age.

We reached the lake quickly. Even with a toddler on my back, 2 miles goes fast. We wandered down the lake until we found a toddler-friendly beach and then settled down for a snack. My daughter spent her time throwing rocks in the water, catching pretend fish and getting her feet wet and sandy.

On the day we hiked, it rained on and off, but it never got too heavy and the trees kept us mostly dry.

The lake is still pretty high; it was amusing to look out and see a fire ring under about 3 feet of water. There is still enough beach to have a nice little break. There are several camping spots near the lake and this would make a great first backpack trip. If something went wrong, even in the middle of the night, it wouldn’t be hard to hike out the 2 miles to your car.

Part of the reason for this trip was to check out my backpack. I have a three-day trip planned soon, and I wanted to make sure my backpack still works for my daughter and I. I’m glad I did. She is too tall for it. It’s OK if she’s awake, but if she naps, her head rests against mine, and it’s horribly uncomfortable.

A bit of advice if you want to hike with your young child: get out a lot so they are comfortable sleeping on your back. (I wrote about different options for carriers here.) You could even just put them on your back at home around naptime. Or strap them in and go for a walk around the neighborhood. It makes things so much easier. It’s really, really hard to get a kid to nap outdoors otherwise. Things are too exciting. Why would you nap when there are bugs, plants and dirt to explore?

Anyways, I learned that I need a new backpack. I bought one the next day.

If you’d like to head up to Barclay Lake, it is off of U.S. 2, about milepost 41. You can find directions here.

More in Life

From Jasper to Banff: A Canadian adventure in an RV

Jennifer Bardsley plans to take her family on two-week roadtrip through Canada in a tent trailer.

Skippers share sea stories at Marysville speaker series

The Bellingham couple will talk about charter cruises on the historic wooden vessel they rebuilt.

Anxiety, or chronic worry, is a growing problem

Paul Schoenfeld shares four approaches to help keep your anxiety from getting out of control.

Expo in Stanwood can help you get ready for the country

The Country Living Expo and Cattlemen’s Winterschool is set for Jan. 27 at the high school.

Find many of our region’s winter birds in the Skagit Valley

If you love birding, also check out these bird-related festivals, lectures and other events.

What’s new this year for travelers in England, Ireland

The nations are improving tourism infrastructures and adding exhibits to well-known sights.

Curries continues home-cooked Indian cuisine at new location

The restaurant, now located on Evergreen Way, also puts an Indian spin on Northwest cooking.

South African jazz musician, anti-apartheid activist Masekela dead

Called the “Father of South African jazz,” he died in Johannesburg after a decade-long cancer fight.

New music: Fall Out Boy balances rock and pop with ease

Fall Out Boy, “Mania”: Rockers are having a tough time on pop… Continue reading

Most Read