“A narrow path around Lake Kelly that, in early spring, is a showcase for wildflowers.”
— Charles Pulse
Features: Birding — Lake — Spring — Views — Wildflowers
Although this trail starts from the parking lot near the State Park's Ranger Station, I would recommend starting the trail from the parking lot below the Kelly Lake Dam. This will cut out one strenuous climb.
As stated, this trail starts at the Ranger's Station. From the parking lot near the park office, proceed down the street in front of the park's cabins past cabin #16. The well-signed trailhead for the Lake Trail can be found on the left at that point.
The Lake Trail has two distinctive characters. The first half of the trail follows the contour of the X shaped Kelly Lake around its first two fingers in a clockwise direction, starting from cabin #16 to the Overton Lodge. It affords good views of the lake plus a wide variety of beautiful wildflowers along the trail. Caution should be taken because the trail on this part is narrow and some of the slopes down to the lake are high and steep.
The second part of the trail, leading from the Overton Lodge back to the parking lot, becomes more of a forest trail. The trail in this part climbs up to the top of the ridge surrounding the lake with a great view of the overall lake. It heads down the other side of the ridge where it crosses one of the highways into the park. It then follows the contour of the ridge up to the ridgeline and continues along the ridgeline until the lake's dam is in view below. From here the trail descends to a picnic area below the dam.
One last rigorous ascent of the ridge on the other side of the gorge completes the loop.
Flora & Fauna
Many varied and beautiful wildflowers can be seen in the spring.