Decided to drive up North on a whim for the afternoon to visit Watson Lake. I’d only been once before and hiked on Peavine, so I was excited to do the loop! I totally meandered and took everything in as I was in no rush.
I actually missed the traditional parking lot turn and was about to turn around when I saw a secondary parking area called Lake overlook (and it was free!), so I parked there and headed to the right to start the loop.
Just FYI There was a ton of things in the air that would make anyone with severe allergies miserable without proper meds! Once I got off the Peavine trail onto the loop trail it definitely got more interesting. For a hike with not a ton of elevation gain, you’ll still get a great workout. Climbing up, down and all around the rocks is a bit tiring! It was also pretty hot and humid.
Highlights for me were the treehouse, the cool geology & seclusion of the middle of the loop and also the waterfall dam. I did also see someone’s shelter tucked away and I didn’t get too close since I was solo, lol. I only saw one other woman hiking solo on the loop portion, but did see a solid amount of people once closer to the TH.
The water levels were pretty low; looked less than half full and the shallow areas were covered in algae. The sunset was a total stunner which was an awesome bonus! Really glad I got outside and always love exploring new places!
First time to Watson Lake. I was expecting a simple walk around the shoreline with some rocks to play on, but the dells along the north shore were mysterious and we spent some time exploring. We found a makeshift shelter that had a definite creepy vibe. Lots of blood sucking mosquitoes fed on our group, especially while exploring along the stagnant north shore coves.
Another fun hike out of my Boots and Burgers book. I wanted to start from the Watson Lake Park. I didn't plan right and got there an hour before it opened. I just waited but I had to skip my lunch plan later in the day . Cool little area.
Once around the lake. I don't think my wife would've waited for me if I went around twice. Then again, I had the car keys. We did a fair amount of birding along the way. Northern Shovelers were the popular sighting of the day. Two geese attempted to attack us. They met their fate at the end of my trekking poles.
"I've driven across deserts, driven by the irony, that only being shackled to the road could ever I be free"
- Frank Turner "The Road"
Watson Lake Circle Trail should be renamed “Links (not Lynx) Lake Circle Trail”
I did Watson clockwise and Willow counterclockwise. These loops are okay but in both cases the part in the Granite Dells is very cool while the rest is a bit monotonous. I saw very few people on either loop. Weather was great, a bit cool at the beginning but very pleasant later.
Culture can only be bookended with adventure, and Watson Lake fit the bill.
9L wanted to get as many links in the shortest hike possible, so he went to HAZmasterB for research -- and Bruce's hiking history directed us to this gem of link heaven
(Richard, I expect to see you up here in the next two weeks )
There was some kind of car show in the Watson Lake Park, so we had to fight traffic to get in, but once there it was quite a peaceful hike. Only saw a couple of people on the circumference until the Peavine Trail. Below the dam is the most "strenuous" part of the hike and nobody goes there. It was stupid humid out and we were all soaked and ready for a swim. Too bad I wouldn't touch this water in a HAZmat suit!
Clouds made for some nice lighting though. South end of the lake is rather boring, Claire got to ogle some firefighters in action so that was good I guess.
We had a quick snack before continuing our adventure trifecta.
I know two guys who were a bit tired after a weekend of more miles than normal so it was a nice occasion to get in a chill day on the water. Before we enjoyed a relaxing lake paddle, we opted to hike the circumference trail.
Weird day, since none of us expected to have to fight our way through a car show in order to get to lake parking. After that we hit the trails which were pretty quiet for an urban hike. The first couple of miles were through the Dells and very rocky and followed some stupid white dots every couple of feet to stay on trail. Eventually the trail goes beyond where the lake is dammed and it becomes very lush and green. We walked over to as close to the dam as we could get to check it out. The water from the dam pools into quiet little ponds that are home to some very large frogs. Afterwards we checked out some coves where Chumley found a bum house and also a tree house. Eventually we picked up the Peavine trail and were able to walk very quickly back to the car. The Peavine trail
has nice views of the lake on one side, and eventually takes an interesting turn on the opposite side.
Interesting views- a police training facility and a firefighter
training facility where we watched the fire men in action. Neat.
So, basically our quiet lake hike turned into, avoiding a car show, chumley almost walking into a bums house, exploring a questionable tree house and then watching some firefighters put out a mock fire.
This was a nice and easy loop before our planned kayaking trip. We made a clockwise loop around the lake. The hiking is okay but the views are nice. Some sections are a little rugged but easy overall. The dam was really cool and that area is very lush.
average hiking speed 2.25 mph
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.