Hike Difficulty: difficult
Hike Length: 7.92 mi hiking all over the place, mostly trying to find my way (from the trailhead to either Boulder Lake = 1.81 mi)
Elevation Gain: 2733 ft
This summer has been less about reaching summits and more about reaching mountain lakes, which isn’t a bad thing. Summits are probably better reserved for late summer and fall when it’s not so dangerously hot. This trip I wanted to do five lakes and possibly a summit, but it didn’t quite turn out that way.
Boulder Lake is a rather popular destination in the Trinity Alps Wilderness; I got confirmation on that when I pulled into the trailhead parking to find 8 other vehicles. Nevertheless, there are so many different destinations within this area that you don’t really cross paths with many other hikers. This trail system doesn’t just lead to the two Boulder Lakes — there is a sort of “loop” you can do that goes up to three other lakes and it connects to the Poison Canyon trail, as well, which goes on to Lilypad Lake (not the same Lilypad Lake as in Red Buttes Wilderness).
I chose to go to Little Boulder Lake first, which had some pretty cool little camping spots that weren’t taken. If I was a fisherman, I’d have been in heaven because the water was so clear that you could see every fish swimming around.
After that, I backtracked to the fork and made my way to Boulder Lake. I didn’t refer to the map that I’d downloaded from, so I just started walking clockwise around the shore, taking pictures. By the time I looked at the map, it looked like I just needed to climb up about 700 ft, then bushwhack over to Lost, Found, and Tapie Lakes. I had a really difficult time finding the right place to make my way across the boulders, plus I had the dogs and an expensive camera around my neck, so I ended up giving up on the other three lakes.
In retrospect, if I’d gone counterclockwise, I’d probably have had a lot more luck, so I’ll do that next time I visit Boulder Lake.