If you’re looking to do a GRIND that will offer a huge reward at the end then Eaton Lake in Hope, British Columbia is a spot you should most definitely check out!
Getting to the trailhead is easy using these directions. Follow Silver Skagit Road until you see the sign for Eaton Lake. You can either park here or a bit up the road in an upper lot. Be warned that the road is a little bit overgrown and rough.
Once you’ve parked and laced up you’ll make your way to the sign where someone has kindly (and accurately) renamed the Eaton Lake trail:
The first section is deceiving. It’s merely a slightly elevated walk in the woods. It was at this point that I figured this wasn’t a bad trail to do my first overnight backpacking trip in 8 years. Shortly after I became comfortable with my decision to wear a 45 lb backpack I had a slap back into reality:)
The trail goes UP. Over 900 ft in elevation in just over 5 km. That’s a lot of UP!
My fit friend was forced to wait for me as I slogged along.
Fortunately, there were a couple spots that required you to slow down a fair bit and breath in the beauty.
There are also a couple bridges that require a fair bit of focus. *Use the one rail as a guide. It’s not very sturdy. I’m not awesome with this kind of stuff, so I just took it slow and counted my steps. Take your time!
The trail keeps going UP with little reprieve from the incline. It’s not until you reach the boulder field that you’re nearly in the clear.
This trail challenges your fitness in so many ways. Your endurance, obviously, but also your agility. The boulder field is well marked, as is the rest of the trail, but it leads you to a log jam that you need to cross with care. I didn’t particularly want to soak my boots!
I was so ready for this lake. Fortunately, that lovely log jam was the last obstacle in getting there.
We set up our camps, went for a swim, and did some fishing (Eaton Lake
is stacked with trout-I caught my first one ever on my first cast!) we heard the thunder rolling. It started to spit a bit and then BOOM it was pouring.
I spent the next two hours in my tent trying to comfort my poor pooch who wasn’t super stoked about the lightning, thunder, hail, and sideways rain coming down.
I still got to have a dinner by myself without having to share with any kiddos while reading my book. It was a win for me!
When the downpour finally stopped and I stepped outside I saw the most beautiful thing:
Yep, that’s a double rainbow over Eaton Lake. I considered ourselves pretty lucky at this point. Not only did I not have my children in my tent for two hours during that storm, but we got to see some pretty amazing sights.
The next day we spent some time drying out our gear. When it was good enough we started heading down.
The down is almost as hard as the going up. It’s a steep trail!
At the first waterfall (or the last if you’re on your way down) there’s a lookout spot. We stopped there on the way down from Eaton Lake to take a lovely photo.
While the Eaton Lake trail is a toughie it’s well worth the trip! The lake is warm. The views are breathtaking. If you don’t encounter a significant storm you’ll enjoy a lovely night under the stars.
Make sure to give yourself a day or two to recover from the hike, though! Epsom salts in a warm bath when you get home will be your best friend.
Have you visited Eaton Lake? What’d ya think?