Discussion in 'Stillwater' started by email@example.com, May 22, 2009.
I am interested in Castle Lake - anyone been there recently?
I made an attempt a few years ago to find this lake. I got the hand drawn map from a local gas/grocery store. Drove up the miles of forest service road. (challenging enough) Didn't realize that the road that takes you in "close'" to the lake was blocked. Walked for miles, bush wacking, and finally got lost. Hiked back up the steep mountain slopes with my float tubes and camping gear without ever finding the lake. Bring a GPS.
The views of Mt. Saint Helens, wild elk, and beautiful mountain flowers were worth it anyways.
We did it years ago. the hike down was brutal as we bushwacked and tumbled our way down to the water edge. The fishing was decent but we feared the hike out the whole time. Then we realized the blocked road and it was not bad getting out. Good luck. Post a report if you go.
How far from the lake is the trail blocked?
I was with BV on that trip to Castle Lake a few years ago. The hike from the gate to the lake is probably 2 miles. But much, much easier, at least coming back up, than the 1/4 mile hike straight down to the lake.
I'd recommend getting a weyerhauser map at the little town before the turn off, as the lake entrance is maybe 20 miles back into timber land, and probably impossible to find without the map. Once you get to the lake entrance though, amazing views of the mudflows on Mt. St. Helens.
We got a few on terrestials off the top, but some guys camping there told us the bigs ones were really deep, had to fish full sink lines (which we didn't have).
Our trip was a bit of a fiasco, bushwacked straight down to the lake with minimum camping supplies, huge rain storm that night, wet and cold in the morning. Coming back up to the truck, some kids that looked straight out of child of the corn sitting watching our car. 10 minutes after they left a sheriff pulls in, looking for them. But he checked our licenses .
It's been years since I've been there, but worth the trip. I would, however, recommend finding an easier way down than the bushwack straight down.....my quads hurt so bad by the time I got to the bottom, I could barely kick my float tube. We caught some decent 'bows down deep with full sink lines, and I worked the log jams with adult damselfly patterns to rising trout which was great. I imagine you might hit the migrating damsel nymphs right now... have a great time.
We attempted Castle Lake just this last weekend. I had been there a little over 10 years ago, but things have REALLY changed! Fish49st8 is correct in that the road from the Weyerhauser 3000 to the gate is blocked. In fact, it is so overgrown now that my fishing partner did not think it ever was a road at first. We scouted things out and found the old access gate ( approx. 1 1/2 miles in from the main log road). Years ago, we hiked in and out of the lake from this access road without incident, except for the lentghy 2-2 1/2 mile trek. To make a long story short though, things are now so overgrown that the access road is no longer "obvious"! From the gate, we hiked down with all our gear about a good mile then came to a "Y" in the "road/trail" overlooking the last ridge to the lake. We scouted to the right (became unpassable), so decided the old road must be to the left(north) and would eventually turn downhill and right (south) back to the north end of the lake. After another 1/2 mile, we were not convinced that we were on the right track and did not want to wander aimlessly with all our gear. Since it was approaching 6:30pm, we decided to cut our losses and hiked back out before dark.
We need to regroup on this...I wouldn't mind the 5 miles or so of hiking, if I knew exactly where I was going! It would be nice to take a quad or trail bike up, and scout out the options and mark the trail etc. Looking for any news from someone who has successfully navigated the hike all the way to the lake. One suggestion I read was to obtain a St. Helens West hunting map...not sure if the road would be listed or not. We have also looked at the Google Earth detail, but cannot zoom in quite far enough to make out the correct route. Please help if you have any info!!!
I know it seams wrong, but when you come to the Y, go to the left and the road will eventually get you to the lake.
Last time I was up there some kid fell down one of the steep hills busted his head up and was getting pulled up by the coast gaurd chopper, fishing was great