Friday, July 17, 2020

Oxbow Loop, 2020

Trail sign at the start of the loop around the lake

Due to possible COVID-19 exposure concerns we have not been doing much hiking this year; however, since we wanted to get out we decided to start earlier to try and avoid most people.  Oxbow Loop on the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River was only the second time we have been out in the forest this season.  Unlike our last adventure to Trout Lake, this hike had zero other people and was a no dog day.  We took our bandana-type face masks but didn’t need them since the trip was an easy to social distance and no risk day.  Oxbow Loop is a newer trail with crushed gravel surface, lots of nice second growth forest and some wild flowers.  There are two parking areas, a small one right where the loop trail begins, and a larger lot by the outhouse that is a short distance through the woods to the beginning of the loop trail.  Discover Pass required.

 Crushed gravel trail surface

Lots of tall trees, some with moss

Map of the loop trail at the trailhead

The area was logged about 100 years ago, therefore many of the existing trees are about that age.  Interesting nurse logs and stumps are found here and there along the way.  Lots of birds but no squirrels the day we were there.  

Large stump left from the logging days, now a nurse log with about 6 new trees growing on it

 Fun benches and log chairs found in a couple of places along the trail

Aside from the birds we didn’t see much in the way of wildlife unless you count the two banana slugs creeping along the edge of the trail.  Bugs? Oh yes, so if you are susceptible to bug bites you will want to use repellent.  My skin seems to be extra sensitive and I don’t like to use Deet products; however, I have found that some of the herbal bug repellents work almost as well at keeping the bugs away but they need more frequent applications.

View of the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River from the trail

Close up to the river from the short spur trail

This would be a good hike for young children since the loop is relatively short, 2 miles, and mostly level with just one hill.  We took the short spur trail to the river that added approximately 1/8th of a mile.  The river was moderately high and flowing extremely fast.  It looked a bit dangerous even for a good swimmer.  If I were taking kids I would leave out the river walk section and go clockwise on the loop to let them go down the hill at the beginning of the hike making the end of the walk easier.  We went counterclockwise and that is fine for adults but I would not want to be carrying a tired child up the hill and back to the trailhead. 

Views of Oxbow Lake

Still lake water with reflections

There are peek-a-boo views of the river along the route and the trail goes around pretty Oxbow Lake with views of the lake from all sides.  The lake was formed when the river changed course and gets its name from its shape.  Birdsong and water music can be heard and on a warm day the shady trail was cool and comfortable.  Some of the flowers . . .



 Bleeding heart

 Fox glove  (digitalis)


Ocean spray

Aster family

Count for the day:  0 cars other than ours at the trailhead, 0 people, and 0 dogs

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