Saturday, June 14, 2014

Lake Sawyer Park and Trails

Total Training Miles walked today (6/14): 21.5 miles
Total Miles walked last week (6/9 - 6/13): 73.6 miles

Lake Sawyer offers an amazing number of walking trails. It is one of my favorite places to walk.
It has a lot to offer: lakes, streams, wildlife, views of Mount Rainier, and easy access.

There is a fairly accurate map of the trail system, created mostly for the biking community, but very helpful for those like me who enjoy walking. A link to a printable map is offered from the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance web page, or click here for the map.

Today I parked in the parking lot just off of the Lake Sawyer Road SE. The road and parking lot is about 100 yards south of SE 312th street. It is not well marked, so look carefully. If you are heading north and get to the Lake Sawyer Elementary school, you have gone too far.

The trail to Lake Sawyer is about 1/3 mile, and then it is a short walk to the lake.
Start of the trail to Lake Sawyer Park
During the summer there is good swimming and folks like to fish from the shore. If you follow the road around the lake, you will pass by Frog Lake (on the right). Just after Frog Lake you will notice a trail heading up the hill. It leads up to an unpaved road used by Palmer Coking Coal. About half of the trails are on Palmer land, and you need to stop by their office in Black Diamond and get a permission card. It is good for one year and allows you access to all of the trails.

On my walk today, I detoured over to Oak Lake. This lake is fed by runoff and the water table. There is no entrance or exit streams. Several weeks ago, the lake was so full that the trail was under ten feet of water. Today was no exception. It will probably be another month before the trail circling the lake can be used again.
Oak Lake is still flooded.
 There are lovely fields of foxgloves growing near Oak Lake.
Field of Foxgloves
 I chose to return to Lake Sawyer and then walked the periphery of the trail system. I even followed a few of the trails at the far north end of the trail system before returning to the trail that follows the old train track that led to the Black Diamond coal mines many years ago.

Main trail that follows the path of the old train track leading to Black Diamond
On the way, I noticed that someone was camping in the woods. Their tent was set up on top of a large rock.
Tent in the woods.
The main trail led me to a spur trail that eventually led me back to Lake Sawyer and my car. I spent just over two hours on the trail today, and saw several folks walking their dogs and a few having fun on their bikes.

If you want some new trail adventures, check out the Lake Sawyer trails!

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