Pack your camping gear and head to Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest for this backcountry getaway to a pristine mountain lake. The hike starts from the Boulder Lake Trailhead on a rocky mining road that climbs to the southeast, passing an information kiosk and the crashing Boulder Creek.
After 0.8 mile, the steep and rocky roadbed transitions to trail tread punctuated with rough roots and boulders. The trail continues to gain elevation as it winds to the south above Boulder Creek, passing through open brush, paintbrush, tiger lilies, and columbine. Savor the views that extend across the valley to the west before re-entering the forest. At mile 2, slow down and admire the towering Douglas firs and western red cedars, then cross a marshy meadow on a cedar boardwalk (look for frogs in the puddles of water).
Drop your pack at mile 3.3 and relax by Boulder Lake, a 3,706-foot lake that sits at the foot of a small cirque. Watch the waters for jumping fish and, on windless days, the stunning reflections of the surrounding ridges. If you plan to spend the night, set up your tents in the well-marked campsites.
Editor’s Note: The Washington Department of Natural Resources plans to restrict access to this area. To reach this trailhead in the future, start hiking at the gated road by Greider Lakes Trailhead. It’s a 1.5-mile roadwalk to the Boulder Lake Trailhead.
-Mapped by Alan Bauer, Alan Bauer Photography