Back to index Eagle Lakes and Fordyce Falls Hike
Trip Date:  02/03/2015

: 10.8 Miles

Vertical Gain: 670'

Group Size: 2

Hike Rating:  Easy   Moderate    Hard    Strenuous
Eagle Lakes & Fordyce Falls Trail Route
Download GPX GPX for this trip
Eagle Lakes & Fordyce Falls Elevation Profile
Start Coordinates:   N 39 19.822, W 120 34.218     End Coordinates:   Same as starting coordinates
Car Shuttle Req'd:   No Parking Directions:   Take Highway 80 to the Eagle Lakes exit just west of Cisco Grove.   Turn left back under the freeway, and the road will bend to the left.  Follow the road for a half mile until you see the sign for Eagle Lakes OHV area on your right.  Drive through the gate and park anywhere off the road so as to not block any vehicle & jeep traffic.
Hazards of Note:   Jeep traffic on the way to Eagle Lakes during the summer months, as well as mosquitos during the spring and early summer near the lakes. Crowd Factor:   Moderate.  Foot traffic will be limited, especially past the Eagle Lakes area, but there will be jeepers on the way to Eagle Lakes that you will have to give the right of way to.
General Notes:
From the parking at the trailhead, head west on the road until you pass by a gathering area for 4x4 vehicles attempting the drive along the route.  From this point on for about the next two miles you will be in relatively dense forest, hiking along the road which has some minor elevation gain but nothing more than a few hundred feet at a time.  Take the right fork when you get to a signed intersection for the Pierce OHV trail (don't go that way.)  
Eagle Lakes will be reached in about 3 1/2 miles from the trailhead, and stay on the jeep trail which heads a little to the left when you get to another junction just a little before the lakes.  Pass through the middle of a series of small lakes with nice reflective views of Old Man Mountain and Signal Peaks on your right.  Once past the lakes you will see a "Stop" sign on the jeep trail, with an indication that you will now be passing into private property and the request to be respectful of the area (i.e. no motor vehicles from this point on.)
The trail narrows down to single track at best from this point, and another 1/2 mile ahead you will cross a surprisingly stout bridge across Fordyce Creek.  Turn to the left after crossing the bridge and continue on for another mile and a half to the falls, crossing creeks a couple of times on the way.  
At the falls there is ample granite for sunning and enjoying lunch, and be sure to drop down to the base of the falls for great views back up at the falls and the granite all around you.

If you see this sign, you are at the right trailhead.  The yellow sign is serious as well.  On the way out we met a couple guys trying to navigate the jeep trail in a Toyota Tundra.  They may still be there... Trailhead
The look and feel of the trail early on while we were still in thhe pretty heavily forested area. Early on 
For a month without rain right before this there was a significant amount of standing water on parts of the jeep trail.  Up to a foot deep in some places. Lots of water
Some pretty hard evidence of glacial striations on these rocks we crossed over on the way up to Eagle Lakes. Glacier activity
A glimpse of Old Man Mountain through the trees well beyond Eagle Lakes. Old Man Mountain
Just a little bit of snow this time of the year up on Signal Peak, and only on the north side out of the sun.   Signal Peak
They seem to be pretty adamate about not going any further with a jeep past this point. End of the jeep trail
Coming across this bridge over Fordyce Creek way out here in the middle of nowhere was a bit of a surprise, as the trail was barely visible in the vicinity. Bridge     
Being chased by shadowman across the Fordyce Creek span. Headed across
Happy to make use of the bridge that we found because the water was still flowing pretty well given the previous dry month. Lots of water
The trail felt completely abandoned for much of the way but the signs at various junctions indicated that others had been here before and that we were on the right path. Not lost
First time I have seen a repaired tree blaze in the forest.  There was another one that we spotted coming back, and it seems to have worked as intended. Tree Blaze
On the trail toward Spaulding Lake there were a couple of stream crossings we had to make, including this one which was a little entertaining to be sure. Creek crossing
Finally at the falls, the payoff for the hard work hiking and navigating correctly to this spot made it all worthwhile.  A very spectacular setting! Fordyce Falls
Always looking for a chance to ruin a good picture. Not quite as spectacular
Looking down from the top of the falls. Top of falls
One last look at Signal Peak from one of the Eagle Lakes on the return trip. On the way back
GPX image of the hike. GPS track of hike