Hike To Big Tree Botanical Area (NE Wash.)

Explore Big Tree Botanical Area in the Colville National Forest, located in northeast Washington, with an easy, short hike. You can make it an overnight trip with a stay at Lost Lake Campground.

Big Tree Trail is an easy, 1.7 mile round-trip hike, with moderate grades throughout, to the Big Tree Botanical Area Interpretive Site. The trail begins just across from the historic guard station at the Lost Lake Campground entrance—or via a separate trailhead a mile up the road for those not staying at the campground.

Although considered wheelchair accessible, the trail surface is soft and may have some debris from wind events. Several park benches are placed along the trail for quiet nature contemplation, and an additional outhouse is available at the second trailhead location.

The surrounding forest has been shaped by various timber harvests, but still boasts many large trees. At the far end of the loop, a pair of 900-year-old Western larch trees hint at what the forest must have been like at some point before logging in the area accelerated.

At Lost Lake Campground, the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps in the area is clearly evident, including the historic Guard Station, built in 1841, located at the campground entrance.

Spacious campsites are available for a fee (first-come, first-served) and provide good access to Lost Lake, a non-motorized lake with a swimming beach and boat launch that’s perfect for canoes, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards. There is also a day-use and picnic area. Be sure to take the short hike to the amphitheater at the edge of the campground, perfect for staging a family talent show.

Author's black and white husky dog sitting at the base of a very tall, old-growth larch tree.
Holly’s dog and an old-growth larch in the Big Tree Botanical Area. // Photo: Holly Weiler

Getting There

Lost Lake is located 27.1 miles northeast of Tonasket, Wash., via Havillah Road and West Lost Lake Road—or 29.4 miles west of the town of Republic via Highway 20 and Toroda Road. The trail starts near the historic guard station at the campground entrance. An alternate starting point is one-mile northeast of Lost Lake via Forest Roads 50 and 33.

View of Lost Lake and a floating dock just a short way off shore at the campground beach.
Lost Lake Campground, Colville National Forest. // Photo: Holly Weiler

Find recommendations for regional hiking trails and destinations in the Hike of the Month column.

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