Sunday, June 14, 2015

Eel Lake & Lake Marie trails

June 9, 2015

While Medford was on a hot streak, we headed to the coast for a camping trip at William Tugman State Park. Located between North Bend and Reedsport, the park offers fishing at Eel Lake and close accessibility to the Oregon Dunes National Recreational Area. We were here though to relax and get in some hiking and we are happy to report success on both fronts.

Tugman State Park-1.jpg

Eel lake is a large, deep lake in a chain of water bodies along this part of the Oregon Coast. Currently there is a 3-mile trail along the south end of the lake that begins at William Tugman SP.  Plans are in the works to try and complete a trail around the entire lake which has 11.5 miles of shoreline.  So for now we had to settle on the shorter version which we found to be even shorter - 2 miles out -  due to some clear cutting along a slope that caused lots of windfall damage and made the trail very dangerous for the last mile.

The trail began near the day use area and crossed Eel creek via a small bridge.  Throughout our hike there were beautiful viewpoints of the lake and at many of those viewpoints there were benches for just sitting and taking in the view.  We were treated to various wildflowers along the trail which included Starflowers, Mexican Hedge Nettle, Yellow Woodland Violets, Foxglove, Spring Beauty, Oxalis, and a new flower for us - Fairy Lanterns,  .  We also saw a few Newts on the trail and in the lake.  Katie did take a dip or two in the lake but we made sure she didn't eat a newt!

Eel lake view from the day-use area
As we mentioned at the start of this post, the trail is closed after 2 miles.  Nothing prevented us from continuing as there is a trail, but with all of those logs on the hillside just waiting to slide down to the lake, we decided to turn around and hike back rather than risk an unwanted log ride.

Since Eel lake ended up being only a 4 mile hike (instead of 6 miles), we decided to drive Highway 101 north to the Umpqua River Lighthouse SP day-use area and hike the 1-mile loop trail around the smaller but beautiful Lake Marie.

We camped at this park a few years back and stayed in a cabin (spot #42) that had a beautiful view of the lake from the porch area.  When we arrived today, the campground was closed due to repaving but the day- use area was still open and very crowded. We hiked the loop trail once in each direction to make up for the two miles we were short on the Eel Lake trail and saw lots of folks on trail enjoying a beautiful, sunny yet windy day. This small lake sure is pretty and like the Eel Lake trail, there are many places where you can stop and take in a view of the lake. (pictures below are from our 2012 camping trip)

Lake Marie
Part of the trail around Lake Marie

Lake Marie

When we finished hiking Lake Marie, our hiking for the day had come to an end. Instead of one hike we were given a chance to hike two shoreline trails along two very beautiful lakes.  One was small in size, the other quite large.  One had many wildflowers while the other had very few.  On one we encountered many hikers yet we met only a single pair of hikers on the other. Sometimes you just don't know what a hike (or two) will lead to, but then again, that's why we hike!

Trekking Together
Glenn & Carol