We traveled to Murtle Lake before smoky conditions smothered the area and we decided to shorten our time there. On the second day we paddled the west end of the west arm of Murtle Lake. We launched from Birch Beach and paddled past Smoker Island. The wide bay at the mouth of File Creek and Anderson Creek is shallow and muddy so we kept our distance from the treed shoreline. The distance from Birch Beach to the landing at Diamond Lagoon was about 7.5 km.
There is also a trail to a launch at File Creek. the river can be paddled for about 4 km upstream. McDougall Lake is another 5 km beyond. Draining into File Creek is Kostal Creek, running down from Kostal Lake (6km from the confluence). An old trail can be hiked to Kostal Lake, but it is mostly impassable at this time. The Goat Peaks rise north of File Creek.
We entered Diamond Lagoon by paddling a short distance down the Murtle River. The lagoon area is through a lava field. At the end of Diamond Lagoon are rapids on the river. A sign warns paddlers not to pass the sign.
We landed in a small bay below the Diamond Lagoon shelter. We had lunch and explored the area a bit. The shelter would be welcome in the rain or the cold, but it is a bit primitive otherwise. There was an outhouse and a bear cache there for campers.
On a day with better conditions, we would have hiked down to the falls and back, but paddling in the smoke limits the views, but it also takes a toll on the lungs. We spend 3 day at Murtle Lake, but we plan to return to do some more hiking in the area, perhaps in the north arm next time.