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Black Lake from Rainy Lake Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

This page is marked as a Lost Hike. The "trail" may be dangerous and hard to follow and is not recommended for beginning hikers without an experienced leader. Carry detailed maps of the whole area and/or a GPS unit and compass.
North Fork Green Point Creek tributary crossing, Black Lake Trail (bobcat)
Old sign on the Black Lake Trail (bobcat)
Marsh-marigold (Caltha leptosepala), Black Lake Trail (bobcat)
At Black Lake (bobcat)
The route of the Black Lake Trail from the Rainy Lake Trailhead (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Caltopo
  • Start point: Rainy Lake TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Black Lake
  • Trail Log:
  • Hike Type: Loop
  • Distance: 2.0 miles
  • Elevation gain: 285 feet
  • High Point: 4,060 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: Mid-spring through fall
  • Family Friendly: Yes, for adventurous kids
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No


Hike Description

The short, half-mile Black Lake Trail #409A keeps cropping up in Forest Service announcements (e.g. after the 2017 Eagle Creek Fire, it was “reopened” in 2018), but in fact the trail has been neglected for decades. Abandoned trail aficionados may find this short expedition interesting, however, and others may take advantage of its brevity to dip their wicks, so to speak, into that particular genre. It’s recommended that you do the trail, or route, from top to bottom and then walk back along FR 2820 from Black Lake.

Black Lake, along with North Lake and Rainy Lake, was dammed by a low wall at the beginning of the 20th century to make it a better log pond. Flumes from each of these lakes carried logs downhill to the Stanley-Smith Lumber Mill at Greenpoint, now Kingsley, in the vicinity of the current reservoirs.

From the Rainy Lake Trailhead, walk to your left to the beginning of the Rainy-Wahtum Trail #409 (There was a temporary sign here in 2018). The trail follows the route of the old Wahtum Lake Road, a narrow, nail-biting, rock strewn nightmare according to those who drove it back in the day. Cross a seep vegetated with skunk-cabbage, salmonberry, and arrow-leaf groundsel, and step over an old berm. This is an old-growth montane forest of tall Douglas-fir, mountain hemlock, noble fir, and silver fir. The road bed swings right between two old gate posts with the cable still attached. From here, it's about 200 yards to the Rainy-Wahtum-Black Lake Trail Junction. Just before the track begins to rise, look down on the left side of the trail for a rock with a handful of smaller rocks on top of it, and find the Black Lake Trail leading down to the left. There's also a broken snag across the road bed here.

Once you’re in the woods, look for an old signboard tacked to a tree. The board is unreadable, but you can follow a faint tread from here down the slope following a few old blazes. To your left is a clearcut. As you descend the slope, you’ll see a boggy area below. Keep the clearcut to your left, and descend to the bog, which is dominated by an unusual grove of Alaska yellow-cedar. Veer to your left, and find a course between woody huckleberry bushes and the bog on your right. You should soon arrive at a tributary creek of the North Fork Green Point Creek, and there’s a definite trail crossing here.

Cross the creek, and follow a tread to a barrier of slide alders. This is actually the decommissioned logging road FR 2820-690, which still appears on topo maps. Cross the old road by worming your way through the alders, and bear left through a jumble of boulders to pick up the tread again as it descends a slope of Douglas-fir. The trail crosses a gully with a running creek and ascends to open Douglas-fir/noble fir forest. By this time, you might be catching glimpses of gravel FR 2820 below. Keep walking south on an even contour until you arrive at the narrow trail around Black Lake. Go left on the dam wall, and arrive at the campsite area with its picnic tables. Brook trout can be snagged in the lake, and a faint trail leads around it.

For the return, hike up FR 2820 0.9 miles to the entrance road to the Rainy Lake Campground. You’ll get a good view of the North Fork Green Point Creek valley on the way.


Regulations or restrictions, etc

  • Outhouse, campground, picnic area at Rainy Lake Trailhead
  • $5 day use fee; $15 camping fee (payable to Lost Lake Resort)

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.