The loop around Applegate Lake is a tough but fun trail run on mostly single track complemented by lake views, and forests of pine, fir, madrone, and many other species conifers and hardwoods. Be wary of poison oak, which is common on most of the Siskiyou trails. The loop uses Payette Trail on the east side of the lake and the Da-Ku-Be-Te-De trail on the west with paved and dirt roads. Several adjoining trails provide many access points.
Most runners start on the Da-Ku-Be-Te-De Trailhead at Swayne viewpoint . Head toward the dam from the parking lot. Continue on the road over the dam to French Gulch Trailhead and the Payette Trail. Follow Payette for 3.5 miles through forest groves to the parking area at Squaw Arm. From the parking area, follow the stock driveway south for 400 feet to rejoin the Payette Trail on the right. Continue to Harr Point Campground, Tipsu Tyee Campground, and the Manzanita Trailhead for another 5.7 miles.
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Follow Manzanita Creek Rd south to Stein Butte Trailhead. Continue on the road to Upper Applegate Road and cross the Applegate River. Follow the road to Watkins Campground. The Da-Ku-Be-Te-De (pronounced Daw-Kew-Bee-Tee-Dee. Named for a small band of Native Americans who inhabited the Applegate Valley) Trail starts at this campground along the western shore of the lake. The trail hugs the lake through the Copper Boat Ramp, Kermit Viewpoint, Hart-Tish Park, and back to the start/finish area.
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