After lulling you into a false sense of security in the first 10 minutes or so, the trail starts climbing (gaining almost 3000 ft in elevation in only 3 km, in fact.) After about 15 minutes you come to the first bridge, and a magnificent waterfall. Eaton Creek positively roars almost the entire way down from its inception at Eaton Lake and you get several views of it along the way which can be used as a good excuse to stop and catch your breath.
After the first bridge you move away from the thundering creek and into the quiet and clam of the forest. After the cool fresh air coming off the creek it can feel downright muggy. The trail continues to climb, switching back and forth. At about the half way mark (about 2600 elevation) is a bench beside a smaller tributary, which makes a nice place for a break.
Shortly after the rest stop, you meet back up with Eaton Creek and the real work begins. The grade is considerably steeper for the next 1.5 km, gaining about 1000 ft. The last 1.5 km to the lake is an easy hike crossing a boulder field and two more bridges before reaching the lake at 6.5 km.
When you finally do make it up to the lake you are rewarded for your efforts. The lake is beautiful and you will likely have the whole place to yourself. The fishing is absolutely phenomenal. We fished mostly in the river and could have literally scooped up dozens of the most beautiful trout I have ever seen. It was simply a matter or throwing your hook in front of the one you wanted to catch. The river was really shallow so you could see the fish perfectly. There is a nice spot to camp and plenty of peaks around to explore should you feel so inclined. Please note that the photo of the lake is in fact Eaton Lake. The photo was taken from above on a climbing trip. You will not in fact get this view on the trip described. Just thought it was a good shot to include.
Considering the ruggedness of the trail, getting there is surprisingly easy. Take Highway 1 to Exit 168. Just before the bridge that crosses Silverhope Creek turn right and take Silver Skagit Road 16.7 km. Just past the 16km sign post on your right, there's a signpost for the Eaton Creek Forest Recreation Site on your left, turn there. There are a few places you can park about 200m up. The trailhead starts a few meters past the parking area (about 200 meters from the turnoff).
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Posted By: Mike Ishmael
- Wed Aug 09 19:59:02 UTC 2017
UpsideSpectacular views of waterfalls and an old landslide, well marked trail, several spots to catch your breath, easy to drive to, beautiful mountain lake at the top for your efforts. Fish visible in the streams... DownsideVery narrow in spots, couple sketchy bridges, extremely tough trek with fast elevation gain in short time, very very steep climb, horrendous amount of flies...Bring strong bug spray...Not for beginners! About 8 hours realistically round trip with breaks at leisurely pace...
Posted By: Petzl88
- Wed May 25 03:30:11 UTC 2016
UpsideSecluded trail very lovely CommentWent here May 24/16 with my boyfriend met a gentleman at the trailhead that was suffering from some mental health issues and made us very concerned for our safety. So if he is there I would recommend going back into town contacting the local RCMP as there is no cell phone service on the trail and they are familiar with him. As for the trail the last second river crossing the bridge is out but it's crossable to the right by hoping some logs at the river mouth. The third is very slippery and the railing is out so be very careful other than that the fish were jumping and the lake was beautiful! Took us 5 hours round trip.
Posted By: kgagne3
- Sun Jul 26 01:37:45 UTC 2015
Commentjust tried to get to the lake today, and when i crossed the tree-bridge, there didn't seem to be a trail on the south side of the creek. was i missing something? the pictures look incredible and i'd really like to give it a go.
Posted By: KH19
- Mon Jun 29 14:08:05 UTC 2015
UpsidePretty epic hike to do with baby and camping gear. Lost a hand carved knife along the way. If anyone finds it please message me. DownsideBlack bear frolicking near campsite CommentWould recommend!
Posted By: mikepage12
- Sun Mar 22 19:05:25 UTC 2015
CommentI did this hike last year in August. 2014 You don't need a 4x4 to get to the start of trail. It's not that bad.
Posted By: cdm26
- Sun Mar 22 18:52:52 UTC 2015
I plan on doing this trail next week on march 28th, do I need a 4wd to get to the parking lot ?ANSWERS are in this forum: driving conditions
Posted By: Abers
- Sun Aug 11 05:15:23 UTC 2013
QuestionPlanning on doing this hike for the first time August 17th, anyone know the condition of the bridges and trail in general?ANSWERS are in this forum: Eaton lake
Posted By: mikepage12
- Mon Aug 05 23:40:15 UTC 2013
UpsideGreat Views, Easy to find. Great workout. DownsideAs the logs bridges are safe, It would be sweet if there were better bridges in place. CommentEnjoyed this Hike a lot. The view of the lake is amazing!
Posted By: s_forsure
- Thu Jul 04 05:26:48 UTC 2013
UpsideGreat hike Downside2nd bridge out we could not get across the river to deep. CommentMissed seeing the Lake.
Posted By: Dennisone
- Sun Dec 02 22:22:58 UTC 2012
UpsideGreat hike for getting some exercise. Two signs had been left by others and both were appropriate. DownsideCrampons were a great benefit especially on the way down due to ice and steepness of the grade. CommentThree of us did this hike at the end of November. There was 8 - 9 inches of snow at the lake. There was an inch or so of ice on the lake. There was an old sign on a tree at the lake saying the new name was Crescent Lake and gave the old name but it was unreadable. Does anyone know the original name?
Posted By: OryXIII
- Sun Jul 22 19:51:38 UTC 2012
CommentAttempted this hike July 20th, 2012. Between 3.5km and 4km the log bridge was washed out and broken into three pieces. On a super warm day wading across would be an option but we were already soaked from a good rain/thunder storm. Just a heads up for anyone else trying to attempt! cheers...
Posted By: chirogirl
- Fri Aug 26 02:09:49 UTC 2011
UpsideLoved this hike, we just did it yesterday, August 24th and it took 2.5 hours at a steady, but leisurely pace up and 1.5 hours down. The trail is nice and spongy, so you could easily and comfortable run going down, with only a few places, like the bridges where you want to navigate carefully. DownsideThe 3rd bridge is completely washed out, but there was no problem for 3 nervous mothers to navigate our own crossing over logs that had formed a makeshift dam. CommentWe really loved that fact there are so few people using the trail and the lake is gorgeous. We would have loved to explore it by inflatable boat and would highly recommend bringing one up if you don't mind carrying a bit. The fire pit was so nice as someone had made some really nice benches around it in a sunny spot beside the lake. One of the nicest hikes I have ever done.
Posted By: DMP
- Mon Aug 15 19:57:53 UTC 2011
UpsideGorgeous Scenery Quiet, We Had The Whole Place Almost All To Ourselves DownsideLots Of Bugs After Sundown CommentWe hiked this trail just this past weekend (August 13/2011) and it was gorgeous. The trail is definitely grueling with a 45lb bag on your back, but the scenery is nice the whole way up so you can sneak many rests by just stopping to take pictures. The whole weekend we only encountered 6 people and 5 more venturing up as we were on our way back down so you'll most likely have most of the place to yourself. After the sun dropped the mosquitoes and flies come out in force, so make sure to pack something to protect yourself. Absolutely stunning lake however and the absolute silence other than running creeks will ensure you have a fantastic sleep.
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Posted By: MapperMat
- Thu Jun 30 15:06:20 UTC 2011
QuestionJust wondering if anyone has been up the trail lately and can comment on the conditions? Given the snow pack in other areas I'm concerned about snow level. Cheers!ANSWERS are in this forum: Eaton Lake Trail Conditions
Posted By: canadira
- Wed Oct 20 05:42:21 UTC 2010
UpsideTHE nicest lake in my modest opinion! Very moderate. Not difficult at all! Steady uphill, nothing out of ordinary. Came up in 2.5hr. Came down in 1.16hr. Were speeding though. Has been hiking there for the last 3 weeks. Since it is October the whole lake has been to ourselves :) DownsideThird bridge was very slippery, so we went a bit different way (0 C' up there) CommentFar to get firewood! When you get to the point where you see a sign "it gets better, promise", note to yourself: it gets actually way steeper for around an hour.
Posted By: Cus76
- Tue Jul 20 15:11:24 UTC 2010
UpsideThis hike was a good pump going up with some welcomed switchbacks to help moderate the burn. The waterfall is gorgeous as is the forest scenery as you make the climb. Beautiful shafts of sunlight break through the canopy and contrast the sharp angular breaks of trees and branches. The jewel at the top is the lake nestled in the mountains... and it is COLD! :) DownsideTwo bridges being out make 2 out of the three crossings a little more challenging. CommentSee upside. Worth the hike!
Posted By: jeffvm
- Mon Jul 19 05:11:43 UTC 2010
UpsideBeautiful lake walled in by tall, rocky peaks. Plenty of views of creek as the trail winds it's way up to the lake. A few spots at the lake to set up tents. DownsideNo downside- wished we had a canoe at the lake to cruise around in. CommentA first time hike for this trail. We soldiered up the trail in good time- around three hours. Only when going back down did we really appreciate the consistant, steep grade of the path and how high we had actually hiked.
The trail doesn't stray too far from the creek. There is a beautiful waterfall viewed at the first crossing, and another lookout past the halfway point. The flow was pretty brisk, so we deemed the water safe and delicious to drink. I didn't find the trail too rooty, and the bed isn't rocky which makes it pretty forgiving underfoot. You wont see the lake until the trail takes you right to the shoreline.
BRIDGES: The first bridge is out and replaced by a massive log (pictured here). The second bridge is also out- the creek can be crossed by a small logjam just upstream. After crossing head left to rejoin the trail. The third bridge is intact.
PARKING: There is parking up the small entrance road past the sign for the Eaton Creek Forestry Campground. The road is short, steep, and rutted. Although there were cars and high clearance vehicles from overnight campers up there, I wouldn't risk bottoming out my car to save three minutes of walking to the trailhead. Best to park out on the shoulder of the main road.
Posted By: bonita91
- Mon Jul 05 18:20:49 UTC 2010
CommentHiked this trail on July 4, 2010. All bridges are open, and trail is clear. Great hike!
Posted By: kenharrison
- Sat Jul 11 16:49:59 UTC 2009
QuestionPlanning on this hike this Wednesday, July 15th, 2009. Are the trails clear??? Are the bridges up??ANSWERS are in this forum: Trail COnditions
Posted By: mochajay
- Thu Oct 09 02:40:43 UTC 2008
Questionjust wonderin if any one has hike to eaton latley? how is that first bidge i heard it was unsafe to cross? please let me know
ANSWERS are in this forum: first bridge to eaton
Posted By: jkd_design
- Fri Jul 18 20:12:00 UTC 2008
UpsideThe long steep climb is well worth it when you come out of the woods onto the Lake. We hiked it on July 16 2008 and the insect situation was almost non existent. Once you are at the lake the Whiskey Jacks come to visit and will eat out of your hand, try not to overfeed them though, it's best to let wildlife fend for itself although from what I have read this is a common trait in these birds. As it is not right next to the city and we were there on a Wednesday we pretty much had the mountain to ourselves. Peace and quiet are always an upside. DownsideA hard steep climb, a lot of roots to easily trip you up. We were not in the best shape and took quite a few breaks on the way up....fewer on the way down, but we made it...which means pretty much anyone can, hehe. CommentI was happy to find out (by a hiker passing us) that the distance was only about 4km one way not the 6.5 that I thought. That was quite encouraging when we thought we weren't going very far very fast. One day I will hike it again with a proper GPS and measure it properly. The elevation gain is pretty much spot on though which can easily be seen on a topographical map or Google Earth. I'd recommend this hike, but be ready for a hard day.
Posted By: miraage
- Mon Jun 16 07:00:37 UTC 2008
UpsideLooks like a good hike... Will try again later :) DownsideWhen we visited today, the first bridge with the one-sided rail was rolled over about 45 degrees. That and the wet logs due to the still strong current made it difficult to cross. We considered fording or crossing over the large fallen tree but decided against it out of safety concerns. Ended up driving to the skyline II trail about 30km further down Siiver Skagit road.
Posted By: vbeliak
- Tue Sep 25 21:51:37 UTC 2007
UpsideThere is free camping available at beginning and end of the trail at the lake. The hike isn't tough. Beautiful forest, gorgeous lakes. Lots of mushrooms this time of year. No crowds! DownsideIf you're driving a normal passenger car, then you will probably hit the underneath of your car while turning into the Recreational area (going over a small gap in the road). Go slowly and sideways to minimize the impact. The rest of the road is pretty good. CommentI enjoyed this trail a lot. It is not a hard one, because the surface of the trail is rather flat, with not many roots/rocks. It is well maintained, easy to follow and not too steep, just alright. Elevation gain is a little over 3000 ft. I did it in 3 hours going up, with a normal pace and about a 20lbs pack. 1.5 hours going down with fast pace. You also cross the creek 3 times. The first crossing is done over a fallen tree with no railings to hold on to. Lots of fun! But it can be crossed by going over branches and rocks in the creek, if you're afraid you will slip; although you may get wet. The lake/mountain scenery is the best I've seen so far. Very tranquil and relaxing, just like a painting. And don't forget your fishing gear! There is trout in there.
Posted By: Jesticle
- Mon Aug 13 07:07:26 UTC 2007
UpsidePretty cool little trail. A few log bridges to cross, a couple waterfalls to take pictures of, and a nice lake to cool off in. Took us about 5.5 hours round trip in one day (2hrs45min up, half hour lunch, 2hrs15min down). DownsideAs a beginning hiker, I found the constant uphill battle to be challenging, but worked up a good sweat at a medium-fast pace. CommentGreat success! Helped condition us for the next hike. Bring plenty of water.
Posted By: lbcgreg
- Tue Aug 07 20:29:37 UTC 2007
UpsideA beautiful lake with lots of small trout. Good amount of campsites. The lake is relatively warm in the mid-summer....great for a swim. DownsideA hard, steep hike. Took us 4 hrs with a weekend pack, up the mountain with many breaks. You need to be in great shape. Lots of flies. CommentDon't let the hike discourage you, the lake is untouched and amazing. The hike also offers a few views of the creek and waterfalls. Even if there are lots of people up there, you should be able to find a nice camping spot.
Posted By: otto
- Fri Aug 11 19:40:10 UTC 2006
UpsideBeautiful views... nice swimming... fun, sweaty hike (packed for overnight)... not many bugs. Downside4 Stupid Yahoos with guns.. firing them off... finally asked them what they were shooting at... that hunting season was not on in this area.. and that this was a Public Area and, thus, NO DISCHARGE OF FIREARMS ALLOWED. The stupid yahoos packed up and left... but not after ruining everyone's beautiful morning. NOTE: if you see a number of cars parked at the start of the trail, know that you may not have a spot to camp... only a couple of sites available. Best during the week.
Posted By: rmartin
- Mon Sep 05 18:34:04 UTC 2005
UpsideWent up for the 3rd time this year, overnight. The weather was fall cool and wet but refreshing. Someone has done some good work on the trail... right on! It was Manitoba's first trip in the BC mountains... He is addicted. Flatlander did well. DownsideA whole pile of new garbage, beer bottles and cans, junk. pretty sad. Packed out what I could. The wasps were viscious. A bear we never saw, but heard, was raiding the nests ahead of us. By the time we walked by they were in a tizzy. I got it 11 times and the dogs got worse, from five nests. CommentStill an awesome hike. Bugs were worse than normal this year but never bad around the lake. Fish are smaller than years past, perhaps they had a bad winter kill in a prev. year. There was many small fish <8 in.
Posted By: westons
- Fri Apr 08 00:57:04 UTC 2005
UpsideFour bridges, two waterfalls, and an energetic trek. DownsideTwo feet of snow covered the lake, and it was tough going through the white stuff over the final 1.5 km. CommentI will definitely tackle this hike again in the summer.
Posted By: luv2blost
- Tue Mar 08 19:37:23 UTC 2005
UpsideWhat a great hike in the skagit valley, I did this one with my hiking partner in early march and although temperatures were fairly warm the lake was still frozen and there was 6-8 inches of snow on the ground. This made the view of the surrounding peaks even more spectacular plus I didn't notice any of the garbage that other reviewers had noted. DownsideThe lake was frozen so we I couldn't fish CommentAwesome hike, I will return!
Posted By: jonful
- Thu Sep 09 04:42:18 UTC 2004
Upsidebeautiful lake with a challenging trail and few others to spoil the atmosphere Downsidecampsite was a disappointment as it has been used as a destinating for grad class campouts (metal plque on tree, and beer cans everywhere) and there are several scars from camp fires for such a small site. Commentthe fishing was great as i landed 4 good size trout in about an hour, however as i was cooking up dinner, a severe electrical storm rolled in and i saw several lightening strikes on the peaks surrounding the lake. needless to say, it was time to leave.
Posted By: Duke
- Fri Aug 20 02:24:37 UTC 2004
UpsideBeautiful lake with good fishing. Beautiful mountain views. DownsideHad run in with a resident black bear...Had to use "bear banger" CommentIntense hike with not much view but the lake is an excellent reward!!!
Posted By: pkevans
- Tue Jun 08 18:22:39 UTC 2004
UpsideNot very many people and a beautiful lake. DownsideThe hike in can be brutal (with a pack) and if you go at the wrong time of year you may not see the sun until 10 in the morning CommentI didn't notice much in the way of bugs, but then I did this hike in late fall. Felt like the grind without the crowds. Very physically demanding.
Posted By: rmartin
- Wed Aug 20 13:08:38 UTC 2003
UpsideTook my kids on a trip up, 9 and 11, never having hiked with a heavy loaded pack. It took more than 6 hours, but they pulled it off. Now they know they might encounter longer, but few steeper. DownsideThe grad class in 1982 partied left a sign on a tree... and a lot of garbage around and in the lake. Beer cans and bottles. Packed out some, but hope to go back for more sometime. Note...the garbage situation is getting better, not worse. Thanx. CommentGreat hike. No bugs this trip. A lot busier of trail than when i first did it in 1988.
Posted By: mutt
- Sat Jun 07 20:08:36 UTC 2003
UpsideBeautiful, challenging, some good exploring possibilities. Campsites with great views especially early in the season with snow still on the surrounding peaks. DownsideTerribly short and a nasty grunt. A couple of the bridges are questionable if you don't like hieghts. CommentThere was a disturbing amount of garbage at the lake. If you find any pack it out along with your own. Keep it beautiful and bear freindly.
Posted By: Glenstr
- Wed May 28 05:12:47 UTC 2003
Upsidevery nice lake, and there is a trail access from the other end of it as well, used to be a road from the hope slide going in, but is likely closed / washed out now. better fishing at that end, with a small creek running in to the lake. lake is shallow on the edges on the hope-slide end, excellent flyfishing! DownsideI first went there in about 1968 or 69 when the centennial trail was put in, in the last 20 years have only made it once! Commentone of my favorite places, the fact that it is hard to get to is even better. when I first went in the late 60's the pond you first get to was about 4' deep and you could see schools of trout about 12" and bigger cruising about, to this date I have not seen a site like that. We often stopped there, fishing the creek up to the lake, in years later we went in from the hope slide, no marked trail, but very rewarding once you were there. you can get to that end of the lake from the silver/skagit end, but is a real hike, it is a long lake!
Posted By: ahick
- Fri Jul 26 18:21:45 UTC 2002
UpsideThe lake is beautiful (and very refreshing, but only if it is very hot). Campsites are great. Relatively easy access. Not many people. DownsideA real gruelling hike with a full pack. Certainly not for the uninitiated. CommentWe did this hike on July 20, 2002 and the weather was pefect. We stayed overnight and there was one other group camping beside us. The hike is definitely worthwhile doing, if you are physically up for it. It took us 2 1/4 hours up and 1 3/4 down the next day. It is an excellent training hike for any multi day expedition.
Posted By: Kodiak
- Tue Jul 09 14:09:56 UTC 2002
UpsideGrouse grind without the crowds. Good trail all the way to lake. Beautiful campsites by the edge of lake. Side trips possible from the lake.Great fishing in creek. DownsideWould be a real grunt to carry a pack for the night. CommentA hike everyone should do ! Carry bug spay for around the lake.