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Black Lake Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Looking across Black Lake from its south shore (bobcat)
Cranberry bogs north of Black Lake (bobcat)
The salal-lined Black Lake Trail (bobcat)
Sketch of the suggested loop (not a GPS track) (bobcat)


Hike Description

Black Lake Park is administered by the City of Ilwaco, Washington, and encompasses the dark-watered lake itself as well as a parcel of surrounding secondary forest. Commercial cranberry bogs stretch from the north end of the lake, the site of the Johnson Sawmill is at its southeast corner, and a few large Sitka spruce grace its shores. A flock of trumpeter swans calls the lake home in the winter months. This is a good fishing lake for trout, bass and perch, and the trails are worth a quick stroll in almost any kind of weather.

From the picnic area, walk north on the gravel path between Highway 101 and the west shore of the lake. A few gnarly alders line the shore. Pass a World War II/Coast Guard Memorial. The trail heads alongside Sandridge Road from its junction with 101. Continue past a pump house and go right at the sign for the Cranmac Cranberry Farm to walk along the north shore of the lake on a narrow paved road. Before a gate, turn right on a gravel track that extends down the lake’s east shore. A wall of greenery rises to the left: Sitka spruce, western hemlock, western red-cedar, wax-myrtle, salal, and evergreen huckleberry. Reach a gravel turnaround and boat launch area and pick up the hiking trail going into the forest past a map sign and a large Sitka spruce.

The trail undulates along the lake shore in coastal forest and passes a salmonberry bog. To do the upper trails, go left at the map sign at the Black Lake-Josh's Trail Junction. This trail undulates in secondary forest with large stumps. Tree roots across the trail have been sprayed white to warn bikers of the hazards. The path joins a road bed and reaches the gated road. Turn right on this road. You are now on the Salamander Trail.

Keep right at a fork in the alder-lined road and head up hill with a clearcut to the left. At a second unsigned fork, go right into the woods and then go right on a narrower track that becomes a footpath and drops in spruce/hemlock woods. Reach a junction: going right is a steeper, rooty footpath; keeping left is wider gentler trail – both lead to the lake shore. Join the wide Black Lake Trail and cross a creek. Pass the site of the Johnson Sawmill and keep right in a forest of alders below Ilwaco Middle/High School. Pass a massive spruce on the lake shore, and then rise to the end of a fence on the school grounds. Look for a narrow gravel trail here that switchbacks down to the lake and then the picnic area.


Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Dogs on leash.
  • Share trails with mountain bikers

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • none

More Links


Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this field guide is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this field guide. All content posted on the field guide becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.