The trail is muddy and uneven, not an easy walk, but well worth it. It follows the lake edge closely most of the way, where the silty lake bottom is clearly visible through the water.
At the north end of the lake, a wooden "bridge" provides narrow access to the other side. Skunk cabbage and other wetland plants fill the marshy area.
|Looking south from the board bridge|
|Stairs leading to west side path|
On the west side of the lake, a fallen tree over the water provides a base for a number of small "trees" branching out from it. Very cool looking!
|Looking east across the lake|
The trees and bushes were full of songbirds - on our two visits (Friday and Saturday), we saw dozens of TOWNSEND'S WARBLERS, a couple of BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLERS (another first for us), as well as WILSON'S, YELLOW-RUMPED and ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS.
|Black-Throated Gray Warbler (another 1st!)|
On the water, the only birds we saw were two drake MALLARDS (I assume the females were on well-hidden nests), as well as two female HOODED MERGANSERS.
We started our walks from the trail-head off of West Devil's Lake Rd (just west of Regatta Park), where the inviting path opens into dense forest. In the woods we were delighted by a BROWN CREEPER.
On the West side of the lake, we followed a trail heading almost due west, and discovered a wide, concrete path and a good-sized parking area off of Port Avenue - apparently part of the newer portion of the open space.
Up here we again saw dozens of warblers, ANNA'S and RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRDS, and we counted at least four PACIFIC WRENS noisily calling.
Heading back toward the lake from the concrete path (sign says "Port Lake Trail"), one of the PACIFIC WRENS was perched on a rotting stump, quite near us - apparently we had wandered too near his territory, and he was boldly telling us to scram. I took a dozen pictures before we heeded his advice!
GETTING TO THE SPRING LAKE OPEN SPACE:
There are at least two ways to access the Spring Lake Open Space. When we visited, we parked on a pull-out area on West Devils Lake Road, next to the lake. Next time we'll probably park in the gravel parking area (now that we know it's there), and walk down to the lake from above. From 101, turn east on NE 14th and follow it to Port, and turn left. Parking lot is clearly visible on the right
If you start from the parking area and need an easy walk, you'll have to stay on the concrete path, where you will enjoy good birds and beautiful views, but you will miss seeing the lake. If you venture onto the other paths, don't be fooled by the apparent wide welcome -- they are narrow and winding most of the time, rising and falling with the rough terrain, and muddy when damp -- probably would call these "moderately difficult".
If you want to see the lake but not take a hike, continue on 14th to West Devil's Lake Road and park in the turnout by the lake. On the west side of the lake is a small path that takes you a short distance to a wooden bench, where you can sit and watch the lake and the birds without moving!