Burnt Lake

  • Author: dbarentine
  • Created: August 23, 2019
Route type: Out-and-Back
Difficulty grade: Moderate
Backpackable: Yes

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  • Distance Instructions
  • Distance 4.11 miles
  • Time 2 h 27 min
  • Speed 2 mph
  • Min altitude 2,707 ft
  • Peak 4,193 ft
  • Climb 1,522 ft
  • Descent 46 ft

The rough and rutted road to the North Burnt Lake Trailhead never deterred the throngs of day hikers and weekend backpackers that head up the Burnt Lake Trail. The road was repaired and graveled over in 2015; thus expect even very low clearance vehicles to make it to the trailhead these days. Overnighters at Burnt Lake need to camp in one of the designated sites as the lake shores have seen much traffic: restoration is underway, so avoid sensitive areas. The trailhead is accessible early in the season, but the bowl wherein Burnt Lake nestles holds snow until much later, which means route finding can become an issue, especially if you plan to continue up to East Zigzag Mountain. This is an excellent hike for forest wildflowers in June/July.

Burnt Lake is named after a 1904 forest fire. An even larger blaze, accidentally started by a local homesteader in 1906, scorched a wider area around the lake. In those days, the forest understory was more open, but most of the big trees remaining were killed by the 1906 fire.

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