Horseshoe Lake

Horseshoe Lake, tucked away almost unnoticed on the border of Kitsap and Pierce Counties, is a quiet paradise for the few people fortunate enough to have found their way to the fishing, swimming, horseback riding and golfing community. While today the area is tranquil, back in the 1950’s it was a wild, rollicking place. An old dance hall used to sit where the county park exists today. The hall was the second largest in South Kitsap, with only the Belfair Barn in neighboring Mason County a bigger dance joint. Back then, dancing was considered by some to be taboo. The hall, however, was packed on the weekends, attracting hundreds from throughout the area.

Residents growing up in the area remember being told by their parents to stay away from the decadent dance hall. It was quite the thing at that time. It was the place to hang out. It had quite a reputation. Sailors used to go there all the time. It caused problems as they used to get in fights all the time. The dance hall was torn down in 1959. Today the county park still packs in the young adults. On a summer weekend, the beach is filled with sunbathers and swimmers. Because Horseshoe Lake is shallow and spring fed, it remains clean in the middle of summer. More importantly, the water heats up to about 80 degrees, making for some of the most enjoyable swimming in Kitsap County. Dancing and baseball were the two major social events around here in the early 1900’s.

Miracle Ranch, the Christian-based Youth Camp and Retreat Center, sits on 70 acres next to the lake. Before the camp took over in the early 1960’s the area was a resort called Playland. Several cabins, a main hall, basketball courts, horse barns and trails, a dock complete with waterslide and several boats and canoes offer campers an enjoyable stay. It’s peaceful and like its own little community. It serves an endless stream of people coming to Horseshoe Lake – about 15,000 each year.

Horseshoe Lake is only about 100 acres. It is named, naturally, because it curves around with two long legs, making a horseshoe design. The lake supports river otter, eagle, osprey, bass, perch, trout and catfish. Many might be familiar with Horseshoe Lake because of its reputation for trout fishing. When driving to Horseshoe Lake, several handmade signs advertise "Worms for cheap." On opening day of fishing, one can almost walk across the lake, stepping from one boat to the next.