Packwood Lake is a great low-level lake to start off the summer hiking season. Sitting at only 3,200 feet, Packwood Lake has an early season snowmelt, making it a popular destination for spring backpackers. The lake offers amazing views of Johnson Peak and the Goat Rocks area, and on a calm day, there is a magnificent reflection of Johnson Peak.
The trail starts out with a moderate slope and has occasional views of Mount Rainier. The trail soon starts to slope up and down for the rest of the way, only gaining about 600 feet total. The trail is mostly dry except for the occasional water crossing. When arriving at the lake, there are a few initial campgrounds, but they continue all the way around to the north side of the lake. A few feet into the trail, there is the old historic guard station. There is also a dirt bike trail with the parking lot and the dam at the start of Lake Creek near this area.
The trail wraps around the lake and can continue off to the left to Mosquito Lake and Lost Lake, but trail navigation is difficult in early spring due to the amount of snow still covering the trails.