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Boulder Lake (Olympics)

Olympic Peninsula > Northern Coast
47.9775, -123.6861 Map & Directions
Length
10.2 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain
2480 feet
Highest Point
4300 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
Hard
Boulder Lake. Photo by Mason White. Full-size image

This is a well-engineered trail of moderate grade that makes a 2.8-mile switchback free ascent from the intersection of the Appleton Pass Trail to the shores of green-tinted Boulder Lake. Along the way you will ramble through some great stands of fir and hemlock and pull in some panoramic views to the south including the north slopes of Mount Appleton. Continue reading

  • Wildflowers/Meadows
  • Mountain views
  • Dogs not allowed
  • Established campsites
  • Old growth
  • Lakes
  • Fall foliage

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

National Park Pass
Rating
3.00 out of 5

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Hiking Boulder Lake (Olympics)

This hike description starts from the trail’s beginning at the marked intersection with the Appleton Pass Trail. You’ll need to hike 3.3 easy miles from the trailhead to get to that spot. See the hiking guide entry for Appleton Pass for directions and complete description of this part of the route.

This is a well-engineered trail of moderate grade that makes its 2.8-mile switchback free ascent to the shores of green-tinted Boulder Lake. Along the way you will ramble through some great stands of fir and hemlock and take in some panoramic views to the south, including the north slopes of Mount Appleton. In late summer, you just might startle a bear raking in huckleberries in the flats just east of the lake. Be sure to bring enough water for the full distance to the lake. The lone creek that crosses the trail can be reduced to not much more than a damp smear by late summer.

Boulder Lake trail intersects with the Happy Ridge Trail about 0.1 mile from Boulder Lake (elevation 4,300) which is backed up by steep cliff and tree-studded slopes. Its waters ripple in the breezes and cast wavy green shadows on the sand and smooth rock bottom. The huckleberry and azaleas that ring its shoreline put on great reflection shows in the fall. It also makes a fine place for a refreshing swim.

There are tent sites, bear wires and a throne-style privy a long stone’s throw from the lake.

WTA worked here in 2016 and 2010!

Hike Description Written by
Mason White, WTA Correspondent

Boulder Lake (Olympics)

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 47.9775, -123.6861 Open in Google Maps

Before You Go

Road Closed: The Olympic Hot Springs road is inaccessible to vehicles due to a washout. Hikers can still access this trail by walking or biking along the closed road from the Madison Falls parking area.

See weather forecast

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

National Park Pass

WTA Pro Tip: Save a copy of our directions before you leave! App-based driving directions aren't always accurate and data connections may be unreliable as you drive to the trailhead.

Getting There

Take US 101 about 9 miles west of Port Angeles. Turn left (south) onto Olympic Hot Springs Road. Stay on this road into Olympic National Park and all the way to the end. Along the way you will pass the Ranger Station, pass the turn off to Whisky Bend, cross the Elwha, pass the entrance to Altair Campground and the best overlook by a dam site. The well-marked trailhead is at the end of the road.

More Hike Details

Trailhead

Olympic Peninsula > Northern Coast

Boulder Lake (#57)

Olympic National Park

Guidebooks & Maps

Day Hiking: Olympic Peninsula (Romano - Mountaineers Books)

Custom Correct Lake Crescent-Happy Lake Ridge or Seven Lakes Basin - Hoh

Buy the Green Trails Seven Lakes Basin/Mt Olympus Climbing No. 133S map

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Boulder Lake (Olympics)

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