Hozomeen Lake and Campground

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Review

Photo Credit: Bud Hardwick
Hozomeen Lake Campground offers one of the most scenic and potentially most memorable forest campgrounds in the North Cascades. A relatively short easy hike from the much larger vehicle accessible Hozomeen Campground provides enjoyable trail access to this scenic wilderness lake.

From its junction with the historic Hozomeen Trail, a short spur trail drops down to the lake shore. A small but distinct peninsula juts out from the southern end of this elongated lake providing panoramic views of the surrounding forested hills and the massive bare rock and often snowcapped crags of Hozomeen Mountain.

During the spring, the campground and its short access trail are both closed from April 1st through May 31st in order to allow the few returning loons the opportunity to nest and rear a small brood of young. The loon is a strikingly attractive bird of fine checkered black and white markings. Unlike most birds, both sexes are similarly patterned. Though distinctively feathered this sizeable waterfowl is probably most famous for its unusual and haunting cry, most often heard near sunset but also during other times of the day. The loon is also unusual is less obvious ways. Some consider it a living fossil, so primitive is its bone structure and skeletal arrangement. Its name, loon, comes from a Scandinavian dialect referring to its clumsy or lame gait on land; yet in the water the loon is one of the most efficient divers able to obtain its prey, small fish, as deep as 200 feet.

The position of the camp beneath the lakeside forest canopy makes warm summer camping enjoyable. The long fetch of the lake allows breezes to gain momentum providing comfortable cooling and pushing some of the more annoying insects away, at least for a time. The view northward from the campsite insures that from sunrise to sunset some of the most spectacular lighting of Hozomeen Mountain can be enjoyed and photographed. Warm ruby glow of morning gives way to yellow then white light of noon, returning again to golden colors at sunset. The shadow line moving up and down the mountain is formed by the projected outline of surrounding ridges and peaks; the image often reflected on the still lake waters, providing ever changing scenes. Warmth from the sun, even in early June, when the trail and camp are first opened, can cause the remaining winter snowcaps on Hozomeen to release providing spectacular avalanches of snow white plumes falling against the bare grey rock faces.

The hiker only campsite is popular and like all campsites in the National Park and National Recreation Area requires preregistration. While this necessitates forethought and planning, its intent is to protect this ecologically sensitive location and hopefully provide a wilderness setting for those lucky enough to camp here. With the often frenzied activity of Ross Lake not far away it is surprising how peaceful and remote an experience Hozomeen Campground can provide. At one time, this area like much of the wild Skagit River Valley would have been a rich habitat for the now absent grizzly and wolf populations. Yet even today, for the most fortunate of visitors, when the night is calm and silent, it may be possible to hear the far off echo of a solitary wolf calling once again for its own kind.
Written By: Bud Hardwick
On: 6/21/2010

Directions

The short trail to the lake branches off from the historic Hozomeen Trail less than three miles from Hozomeen Camp on the northern shores of Ross Lake (see articles this website). The campground and short access trail are both closed April 1st through May 31st to protect the last few returning pairs of nesting loons in the area.

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