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    Boulder Lake Hike

    This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
    This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
    This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
    12.6 km
    This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
    553 m
    User Ratings
    These ratings are completed by users who have completed this trail and not subject to reviews by 10Adventures.
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    Directions to Trailhead

    Exhibiting the grandeur and beauty of the high country, exploring the Boulder Lake Hike boasts an exceptional experience. Traveling deep into the wilderness, this route will overwhelm you with picture-perfect scenes of the alpine landscape.

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    Route Description for Boulder Lake Hike

    Immerse yourself in the high country and let the stunning vistas motivate you as you tackle this taxing trek. The Boulder Lake Trail is not for the faint of heart, yielding a heart-pumping climb and technical terrain. As this secluded route travels deep into the wilderness, there is an increased chance of wildlife encounters, so we recommend wearing a bear bell to discourage unwelcome visitors. Additionally, this incredible trail is situated at a high elevation, so make sure you are acclimatized to the altitude and dress in layers as insurance against changing conditions. Lastly, the final push-up to Boulder Lake is primitive and demanding, so the trail GPS and a pair of sturdy footwear will make a world of difference.

    Desiring a sequestered experience in the Stanislaus National Forest? The Boulder Lake Trail is a secluded adventure hidden in the High Sierra that boasts incomparable panoramas of Boulder Peak. Offering a diversity of scenery, this path stretches through meadowlands, along alpine streams, and through forested canyons before culminating at the charming alpine lake. Though this route is easily manageable as a day hike, it offers a wonderful introduction to backcountry backpacking too. No matter how you experience this trek, it is sure to impress. Fun fact, someone once reported a sighting of Big Foot in the area… so keep an eye out!

    Embark on your adventure along the Boulder Lake Hike from the Clark Fork Trailhead. You will notice The Iceberg towering above, a craggy granite dome protruding from the meadow. Setting out from the trailhead, you will be guided east along the Clark Fork Trail. This path winds along the curves of Clark Fork Creek, which runs through the granite-bound corridor. Soon after your departure from the trailhead, the terrain will transform into a forestland of mixed pines and red firs. Enjoy the spotty tree shade as you wander along the boulder-lined creek, which will relax you with the sounds of the gurgling water. Gradually climbing through the wooded valley, you will eventually reach an intersection; veer left here.

    Now tracking north along the Boulder Lake Trail, the terrain will increase in intensity as you ascend the steep, uneven path. Scrambling over the granite boulders, this more primitive route will follow along Boulder Creek. The further you climb, the more exposed and technical the trail will become. As you near the shore of Boulder Lake, an overwhelming scene of Boulder Peak will come into view. Marvel in the grandeur of the towering craggy peak, then continue up to the charming alpine lake. Hemmed by vibrant pines and meadowlands, the view of the shimmering lake is picture-perfect. If you are staying overnight, set up shop beneath the shelter of the trees. When you are ready to head back, simply retrace your steps along the route back to the trailhead.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How long is the Boulder Lake Hike?

    The Boulder Lake Trail is a 12.6 km out-and-back hike in the Stanislaus National Forest.

    Is the Boulder Lake Hike difficult?

    The Boulder Lake Trail is an intermediate hike near Sonora, CA.

    Insider Hints for Boulder Lake Hike

    • Download the trail GPS as the rearmost section of the trail is primitive
    • Wear a pair of ankle-bracing footwear—you'll thank us later
    • Dress in layers as insurance against changing conditions
    • Check the forecast prior to your adventure to mitigate the chances of getting caught in an afternoon storm

    Getting to the Boulder Lake Hike Trailhead

    The Boulder Lake Hike is accessed via the Clark Fork Trailhead off County Road 992200.

    Route Information

    • Backcountry Campground

      Backcountry Camping, wilderness permit required.

    • When to do


    • Pets allowed


    • Family friendly

      Older Children only

    • Route Signage


    • Crowd Levels


    • Route Type

      Out and back

    Boulder Lake Hike Elevation Graph

    Weather Forecast

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    Boulder Lake Hike Reviews

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