North Fork Lake Trail
Explore Idaho’s Boulder Mountains and enjoy a refreshing swim in an idyllic alpine pool on the North Fork Lake Trail. This hidden treasure in the Salmon-Challis National Forest offers a scenic and secluded experience that boasts unrivaled alpine vistas.
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Route Description for North Fork Lake Trail
Discover a hidden paradise in the Boulder Mountains on the North Fork Lake Hike. This unforgettable experience explores a swathe of wilderness occupied by lush subalpine woodlands, montane meadows, meandering creeks, an alpine lake, and soaring craggy crests—not to mention an array of wildlife. As this route travels high into the alpine, it is important to come prepared to face inclement weather, as conditions at high altitudes can change on a dime. Note this path is unmarked, so we suggest downloading the trail GPS before heading out.
With plenty of water in tow, your adventure along into the alpine travels westwardly into the pine woodlands. Enjoy the shaded canopy as you relentlessly climb and watch for wildlife, including elk and deer. Intersecting with snowmelt streams on several occasions, the route will eventually escape the timberline. Beyond this point, the trail GPS will guide you up a steeper segment of terrain to gain a ridge. Finally, after some hiking through the montane meadow, you will crest the shoreline of North Fork Lake.
The scene from here will render you speechless. Marvel at the grandeur of the looming cliffs anchored by Ryan Peak that flank the turquoise waters. Take a refreshing swim in the water and watch for pikas and mountain goats adorning the mountainsides. When you are through exploring the basin, head back the way you came to the trailhead.
Getting to the North Fork Lake Trail Trailhead
Access this adventure from the trailhead off the National Forest Road North Fork Spur 1.
North Fork Lake Trail Elevation Graph
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North Fork Lake Trail Reviews
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