Eat, Drink, Play: Boulder Lake Trail: a great challenge
Ryan Summerlin August 26, 2012
Though this hike is not too straining, making it all the way to Boulder Lake is definitely a challenge. Setting aside four to five hours for this trek is about what is needed to make it all the way.
The trail leading up to Boulder Lake is very popular, creating a perfect place for socializing and enjoying a day outdoors. The season for this hike runs from May through October, depending on snow.
Driving to the trailhead of this popular destination is about as thrilling as the hike itself. Though four-wheel drive vehicles are recommended for the rugged dirt roads leading up to the trailhead, it’s doable in a two-wheel drive car as well.
After turning onto Rock Creek Road, a gravel road will bring adventure seekers to a trailhead parking area – keep going. There is another dirt road leading through the first trailhead parking, which brings hikers to the Boulder Lake Trailhead.
This is where the driving gets pretty rugged, but following this dirt road for another one-and-half miles will bring you to the right parking area.
Leading out of the parking area is a trailhead marker and map with a well defined trail, which begins the five-mile journey toward Boulder Lake.
Neither trail signs nor many popular maps adequately illustrate the fork leading to the south shore. Distance and difficulty is the same for day hikers, but the trails end up narrowing dramatically before reaching the lake.
The first split is part of the original trail that’s recently been closed and re-routed due to erosion. The second is actually the main trail, which leads over Boulder Creek to the lake’s north shore and continues another three miles to Upper Boulder Lake. A “No Fire” sign just past the second split ensures the right choice.
The path climbs steeply and levels by a large meadow on the southeast shore of Boulder Lake. The hike is great for families, but advancing to the lake is not for the faint hearted – terrain becomes more rugged while the trail narrows around some drop-offs.
A little improvising over the outlet stream to re-join the main trail on the north shore is required. Though classified as an unmaintained route west of the lake, it can be taken up-valley for over a mile before losing clarity.
The most important thing to remember with this hike is that: Even if reaching the lake may seem unfitting to the group, the hike itself is purely enjoyable.