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Elk Lake Creek trail
Rob Williams
08/16/2015 - 12:27 pm
Member Since: 09/20/2009
Forum Posts: 1458
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Been very, very quiet here lately - hopefully everyone is too busy hiking to post anything!

I have been wanting to hike the Elk Lake creek trail for a while now - wanting to see what it looked like after the fire a few years ago.  I hiked from the northern trailhead down to the first creek crossing.

I was surprised to see 3 other cars at the trailhead when I got there, but I only saw one group all day - they were heading in when I was almost back to the truck.  Everyone else must have been camping somewhere in BOTW I'm guessing.

The fire burned area is quickly recovering (there are seedlings EVERYWHERE) and there are signs of resiliency.  These trees are blackened WAY up, but are still alive and apparently healthy:

It was a pretty uneventful hike, but I had forgotten how peaceful that creek is, especially in later summer/early fall.  We explored a short side trail (that does appear on maps) that is somewhat overgrown and has a fair amount of blowdown - it goes down to the creek to an old campsite that obviously hasn't been used in quite some time:

I also found over 30 phone line insulators on this trail!  Quite a few were just the loops (missing the ceramic insulator), but there were sections where they still appeared to be intact - just like 80 years ago.

We stopped at the first creek crossing, had lunch and headed back.  Elk Lake creek is a very peaceful creek this time of year - it was very soothing while having lunch - (crank up the volume and play it in a loop to get the ambiance):


The weather was beautiful - warm, but not too hot.  A bit breezy at times, but it felt good.

This is a great trail - the northern part is relatively flat too, so makes for an easy hike.  Down to the first creek crossing and back (with the side trip) was about 5 miles.  Pretty easy day.

Doug Firman

Trail Maintenance
08/18/2015 - 8:43 am
Member Since: 09/20/2009
Forum Posts: 266
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That's one of my favorite trails.  Was there any problem driving to the trailhead?  I know that there's been some logging going on at the Rd 63/6350 junction.  I've heard that the road has been closed at times while they drag the logs to the edge of the road, so I haven't gone up that way for a while.

Was that side trail with the old campsite that you mentioned the Janus Butte trail?  That shows up on some maps and goes down to the creek.  On the other side of the creek it goes up and over Janus Butte to the East Fork Collawash on the other side.  I've done some searching for it and found a little bit of it, but it's pretty thick with rhodies as it climbs the hillside so it's kind of tough.

Rob Williams
08/18/2015 - 10:26 am
Member Since: 09/20/2009
Forum Posts: 1458
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No problems driving to the trailhead on Saturday.  I would assume it would be different during the week.  It looked like someone was living at one of the thinning sites (probably for security, I'm guessing).  There is quite a bit of thinning going on up the 63 road.  It looks like they are using the road for a landing - quite a few logs staged next to the road.  I wouldn't want to go up there during the week, though.

I think the big Jazz sale is mostly up the 6370 road, not 6380.  I didn't see any sign of cutting up 6380.

I hadn't thought about that being the Janus Butte trail, but looking at the map, I think you might be right.  The trail (what was left of it), seemed to kind of end at the campsite at the creek, though.  I wasn't thinking it might be the Janus Butte trail, so wasn't really looking past the campsite.  Maybe another trip is in order?

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