Me and my hiking partners are looking for a way to hike in. We heard there is a trail but we are not able to find it. We are 66 y/o 60 y/o and 40 y/o I do not want to go cross country as we are not fit that way but I can not find the trail we were told was there. We met a man named Eric who volunteered who told us it was there but we can not find it. Do you know of any way or can someone show us
I would certainly like to know where this trail exists. I know of no old trails that go to Surprise Lake. If there is one, I know several people who would like to know the location of this mystery trail. Old maps do not show any trails going near surprise lake. The only way to get there by not going off trail is to hike decommissioned roads to the lake. From Skookum Lake, it looked to me to be about 7 miles one way. Here is an approximation of the route along the old roads - but we warned, some of these old roads are not terribly easy to travel. They are ripped up, uneven and many have lots of young alders growing in them making travel on them difficult.
We met a man named Eric who wore a shirt with westside FS patch on it. He said he volunteers and he knew of a trail but we could not find it so we were trying to find him again. But my friend John is going in alone cross country from the leftside of Skookum lake road over to the old 54 road across from it. He is so determined to get in there. I could not make it. We were hoping there was some trail along the ridge that might connect to the road if we do find a way we will mark it VERY WELL.
Interesting - I did find one trail on the 1937 Metsker map that goes from Bracket Mountain and hits the NW corner of Surprise Lake. Those maps have very little detail, but it looks like the old 5440 -025 spur might have replaced at least part of the trail.
I can guarantee you that even if you were able to find the trail, it would be difficult to follow - if it only showed up on one map from 76 years ago, it probably wasn't built very well, and it has had no maintenance so it will be very vague. If you or your friends do find it, please post your findings here.
I did go to Surprise Lake about a month ago, however it was a very difficult trip, mostly cross country. We planned on about 5 miles, but it ended up to be more like 7, with dense undergrowth making the trip difficult. As I said, many people would like to find a relatively easy way to Surprise Lake. Thus far, I know of none.
Walking the old roads appears to be the only way to get to Surprise Lake. I've been to the lake once. Nice lake. I am intrigued by how much interest this lake has with folks, its so obscure and never had a main trail near it. The top of the Camelsback is a cool area, lots of ponds tucked in along the ridge top.
We will be doing more explorations from the Wash Creek side this weekend - looking for remnants of the old Cold Springs trail. I still don't believe there is an "easy" way to get there, but hopefully if we can find this trail out to Wash Creek, it will be easier.
If that "other" trail could be found, that would be even better, but thus far, no one seems to know much about it.
Around 25 years back we bushwacked upwards on the west side of Baty Butte and onto the peaks west of Surprise Lake. The route we took would have intersected the old trail on the '38 map Don sent in. We started on the Baty Butte trailhead after driving up. We did not attempt to find Surprise. I don't remember anything looking like a trail.I do not remember anything that looked like a trail but the route was not difficult to follow. They strung the telephone wire along this route and right over the top of Baty Butte. The maps show a lookout on Baty but on my rock scrambles to the top I saw no sign of it.
If our inquirers haven't found it already, Skookum Lake may be a better option starting from the unmarked trailhead on the Molalla side. The abandoned Fish Creek Ridge trail is a bit tricky to find due to blowdown but it makes for a better trip than the former road. A loop can be made with the road. Thunder Mountain could be added in and still make it a day trip. Send me a PM if you would like details.
Robert Koscik said
Hey Rob how are you going to do it from the Wash Creek side? Straight down the canyon? I'd imagine there's an abandoned road at the bottom.
Well, I was thinking (not thinking, really) - if we could find Cold Springs down to Wash Creek, we could head up Wash Creek, but that looks almost as tough/long as any other route..... But if we could find the Cold Springs route, we could get down to the confluence pretty easily - that would be cool.
Surprise Lake just doesn't want to be explored easily. It makes you work for it.