A pleasant and gentle hike, Barclay Lake is an ideal destination for beginning backpackers and families with children. The lake is nestled between Merchant Peak and Baring Mountain on the edge of the 106,577-acre Wild Sky Wilderness, and it offers several lakeside campsites as well as sandy beaches for picnicking.
The rolling trail meanders for 2 miles under giant hemlocks, past bright patches of devil's club, and through clusters of salmonberries that are ripe for eating during the summer. Thanks to heavy precipitation in the area, the trees and forest floor are draped with moss, offering a contrast to the jagged peaks surrounding the valley. No doubt children will be fascinated by the population of insects, fungi, and plants covering either side of the trail.
Shortly after crossing Barclay Creek, the lake comes into view. Pick your picnic or camping spot and enjoy the towering view of Baring Mountain's northern face right across the water. If you would like to add a major challenge to your day, consider hiking the rugged 2-mile trail up to Eagle Lake from the east end of Barclay.