Pearl Lake Hike
The Pearl Lake Hike exemplifies the beauty and diversity of Idaho’s high country. Indulge in what the Payette National Forest has to offer as you explore a swathe of wilderness occupied by meadows, grasslands, alpine lakes, granite bluffs, and woodlands. This hidden gem offers solitude, so let’s keep this between us, okay?
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Route Description for Pearl Lake Hike
Hiking the Pearl Lake Trail boasts an unforgettable experience. This beautiful high-country adventure explores some gorgeous settings nestled amongst Idaho’s Lick Creek Mountains. While the route itself is not overly technical, there is often blow down impeding the trail that demands some scrambling. Come prepared to do some climbing and wear a sturdy pair of footwear to avoid a rolled ankle on uneven terrain. As there is limited shade along this hike, it is important to wear SPF and bring plenty to avoid the effects of overexposure. Note that although bear and wildlife encounters are unlikely, carrying a canister of bear spray is not a bad idea.
Open year-round, the Pearl Lake Hike is best explored in the spring and summer when the terrain is mostly cleared of snow, and the wildflowers blossom. Along this beautiful path, you will likely notice Indian Paintbrush, Henderson’s shooting stars, spring beauties, and many other vibrant wildflowers adorning the meadows. Although the journey up to the lake is quite charming, Pearl Lake is the pièce-de-résistance. The grassland-ringed alpine lake sits in the foreground of impressive granite bluffs—boasting a picture-perfect scene, so don’t forget your camera! Those seeking a scenic and secluded adventure near McCall will likely enjoy this route.
Embark on your adventure along the Pearl Lake Hike from the Crestline Trailhead off Pearl Creek Road. Setting out from here, you will be led southwardly down a gradual decline. While this may seem counterproductive, this path leads down to a Teardrop Lake, which is laden with lily pads, and deer and moose often frequent the shoreline—so it's a worthy detour in our books! Beyond this point, the route will begin to climb, traveling eastwardly up to the Crestline Trail. After some hiking, you will reach the junction where you will be diverted southwardly along the Crestline Trail.
Wander this path through the exposed meadowlands that offer expansive views of Idaho’s mountainous landscape. Eventually, you will reach an unassuming intersection, where the Pearl Lake Trail branches off, redirecting you east. Beginning your final push to Pearl Lake, the terrain will become increasingly steep and rocky, so be aware of your footing. Passing through a pine tree stand and then back into the wildflower-abundant meadows, you will ultimately reach the shoreline of the alpine lake. Revel in the beauty of the marsh-bound lake framed by the granite bluffs of the Lick Creek Range. While this lake is not ideal for swimming, it boasts gorgeous scenery. Admire Pearl Lake in all of its glory, then retrace your steps back to the trailhead.
Pearl Lake is a quaint alpine lake nestled in the Lick Creek Mountain Range. Sitting at an elevation of 2,277 m, this body of water is lively, abundant with lily pads, and encircled by marshlands. Found nearby are Marge Lake and Teardrop Lake.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is the Pearl Lake Trailhead?
The Pearl Lake Hike is accessed via the Crestline Trailhead off Pearl Creek Road.
How long is the Pearl Lake Trail?
The Pearl Lake Hike is a 6.8 km out-and-back hike.
Insider Hints for Pearl Lake Hike
- The road to the trailhead is rugged, so bring a vehicle with high ground clearance
- Mosquitos are relentless here, so wear bug spray
- Much of the tree canopy is open, so SPF is a must
- Pack plenty of water—trust us
- Note there are leeches in the lake
Getting to the Pearl Lake Hike Trailhead
Access the Pearl Lake Hike from the Crestline Trailhead off Pearl Creek Road.
Pearl Lake Hike Elevation Graph
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Pearl Lake Hike Reviews
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