As mentioned last week, I spent ten days in beautiful Winthrop, WA dogsitting for my in-laws. I decided to treat all three dogs to a stroll at Pearrygin Lake State Park. If you think a novice should be walking three dogs at once, don’t.
I’ve been to Pearrygin Lake State Park before, but on snowshoes. On a sunny Friday afternoon in May, it was a totally different park! I did chose a different trail than last time, the Pearrygin Lake Trail, which had a totally different trailhead, the Lake Creek Trailhead. In sunny times if hiking, I’d super recommend starting from here, as it was solely hikers and bikers at the unpaved lot, not boaters or swimmers. The trail does start narrow, and as I shared the trail with tons of other dogwalkers, it made wrangling the pack a little harder, even on a Friday afternoon.
The trail is flat, however, and soon reaches the shores of Pearrygin Lake. On the other side of me was thickets of aspens and pines, and all around me, wildflowers were exploding out of the earth. For a short trail not far from town, it was a thrilling hike! I was slightly concerned about snakes, having had a harrowing encounter earlier in the Winthrop trip with a VERY angry snake that appeared to not be a rattler (but we thought best to leave alone anyways), but around 4pm, the mule deer that run rampant were the only critters I saw on land.
You have your choice from the trailhead of an out-and-back (a little under 5 miles), or making a loop with the Rex Derr trail and a roadwalk (apparently 6-7ish miles). I’m not a huge fan of roadwalks, and with three dogs to wrangle (did I mention that yet?), the out-and-back seemed wisest to finish quicker, as pretty as it was.
For nearly 1.5 miles you continue along the lake before pushing slightly past it. The dogs scared a deer off (thank goodness I kept them all leashed) before we turned eastward to hug the south end of the lake. At the south end, you climb a bit for a thrilling view.
I tried to pull off trail as best I could and give the dogs another water break. I decided as close as we were to the planned end of the junction with the Rex Derr trail, my low beer light was on. Luckily, with the sun starting to dance behind mountains, everything around me started getting bathed in a golden light, and I had the mountains ahead and the lake to look at nearly the whole time. While I loved snowshoeing here in winter, spring was a solid competitor for best time of year to hike. I am assuming fall has the aspens looking stunning too, making this a wonderful hike year-round, with the right equipment in winter. I kind of can’t believe what a great hike this was, as sometimes state park trails can be a bit lackluster. I made it to the car, happy to be done but also grateful for the time on this beautiful, easy trail close to town.
Distance: Out-and-back is a little under 5 miles according to my Gaia tracker. The loop distance appears to vary–AllTrails says 6.0 miles, but it certainly looks longer, and people commented saying they tracked 7.2. Note the loop currently heavily involves a road portion that does not have a large shoulder.
Elevation: I clocked an ascent of 194 feet.
Parking: Discover Pass
Bathrooms: Lake Creek Trailhead had pit toilets, if doing the loop other pit toilets on the east side of the lake.
Best Beer Bet: Old Schoolhouse Brewery and Methow Valley Ciderhouse right in town are my go-tos (Lost River Winery is great too!)