Explore the most popular lake trails in Challis National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

15 days ago

Great views! We made it to all the small lakes around Fish Pole Lake, and it was well worth the climb.

15 days ago

Great hike with great incline and awarding views!

21 days ago

Great Hike and beautiful lake. My 6, 8, and 10 yr. olds did awesome. 1 Hour and 55 min to hike up And 1 Hour and 10 min to walk down. Official trailhead starts at the end of an old Jeep Road. Very hard to drive to the trailhead. Walking the Jeep trail adds another 2 mile to the overall distance. Side by sides or 4-wheelers will take you right to the trailhead.

1 month ago

I feel bad scoring this trail so low but I did not get a chance to finish this trail and I felt I had to warn other hikers about the mosquitoes. Attempted this hike the first week of June and the mosquitoes were OUT OF CONTROL. I was bit over 100 times in the space of an hour. The first part of the hike is in a low, almost swamp-like meadow where there is a lot of sitting water. Knowing that eventually I would hike out of the swamp meadow, I continued but the rivers/streams passing across the trail were very high and I had to hike around looking for a place to cross, losing the trail 3 times. At this point my entire body was itching from bites and I was too frustrated to continue.
This trail is probably great at other times of the year but be warned in the early summer after a lot of rainfall!

10 months ago

Very difficult, good thing it wasn't too long. Beautiful lake at the top.

great hike. so much elevation but it is so worth it in the end.

Very steep at the beginning but then levels out. It was beautiful. A great hike for kids. Mine loved exploring around the lake.

10 months ago

Great and a steep hike. View at destination is just amazing. If you have a Fitbit smart tracker, it would take approx. 11000 steps and 200 floors to reach at the top.

Beautiful hike! It's a must do!

11 months ago

Water is cold the fish are fun and the views are fantastic! Many wildflowers on the way as well.
Take a high clearance vehicle as there are a couple rocky spots.

11 months ago

The road to get to the trailhead is rough and a 4wheel drive vehicle with high clearance is necessary.

Great hike to enjoy solitude. Trail can be easy to lose in the snow - be sure to bring your map. GPS was also extremely helpful!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Great short hike. Crosses a couple of streams during the first 3/4 mile. Pretty steep for the first 1/2 mile as well. Great views and lots of fish at the lake. Nice campsite with 4-5 foot snow drifts in places on July 9th at the inlet.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Great hike into a few different lakes. Had a great time hiking in this beautiful area.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Hiked from 4th of July trailhead to Washington lake and made camp there. Then off to upper Chamberlain Lakes for a night. That was approximately 6 miles with the last 2 up hill and require decent conditioning on the hikers part. We then traveled back to 4th of July Lake for the last night. That was 7.2 miles or so and made for a tiring hike. After sleeping there it was a brisk 1.2 or so downhill back to the trailhead. We saw seven mountain goats at the upper chamberlain. Once during the first evening there and the they revisited the morning we left. Also saw a health doe while trekking back to 4th of July.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

it was steep climb... but fishing is great!! we continued to fish pole lake this time... says 2b trophy fish there... but iron bog had more fish.. the views are amazing!!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Quick but steep hike. It starts off kind of hard if you haven't hiked in awhile. Eventually it levels off and the views are amazing. The steepness means you gain elevation pretty quickly and the breeze off the lake was a little chilly.

Saw a couple pika while on the mountain and only one other person was fishing on the other side of the lake. Fish were biting at the little bugs so a good, peaceful fishing spot!

Definitely will do it again and will bring fishing gear.

Friday, July 08, 2016

It is a strenuous hike but worth the effort. Beautiful views and a lot of shaded areas. Hiked it on a hot morning but was a pleasant experience

Monday, July 04, 2016

We hiked into Iron Bog Lake last year and liked it so much we planned an overnight trip with family. Short hike is a plus, the first bit is steep, and then gradual rise from there. From Iron Bog to FishPole is pretty short, just be careful of the rocks and uneven terrain. Our group had good luck with a total of 7 fish, with the biggest just over 12 inches. (None at FishPole with trophy restrictions 20"+ only, seemed over fished to me). Great spot for a day fishing around the lake, or camping. Seemed like a popular spot given the traffic we came across. We'd do it again.

Monday, June 13, 2016

It was beautiful. My husband and I enjoyed the hike. The elevation gain going in was hard but ok. It was totally worth it when we got to the lake. It was beautiful there was still a small amount of snow on the ground.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

I hiked Iron bog May 27th, there was about 4ft of snow at 3/4th mark and the rest of the hike and more. The beginning of the hike had clear paths, I'd say June and later is the best time to go.

Monday, September 21, 2015

This loop trail starts at an elevation of about 8000 feet at Lake Creek Campground. For the first few miles, it stays near the creek with steep ridges towering high above. The scenery is gorgeous with whitebark pine along the ridgelines and among the numerous long rock slides fanning down from the high ridges. The canyon floor and some slopes are interspersed with willow-choked meadows and forests of fir, spruce, pine, and aspen. Fishing in the creek is really good with mostly brookies in the plentiful beaver ponds.
The incline is fairly gradual for the first four miles. Not far after a large meadow (watch for moose!), the trail splits, then climbs onto a high bench below a long, circular, granite ridge that tops out above 11,000 feet. The trail forms a loop, traversing four lakes on this high bench. If you take the left fork, you will reach Round Lake first at around 9400 feet, then Long Lake, Rough Lake, and finally Big Lake at an elevation near 9700 feet before descending to the trail intersection. The trail doesn't actually go to each lake, but short spur trails leave the loop to each lake. A fifth lake, Golden Lake is about a half mile beyond Big Lake.
There are no developed campsites (except at the trailhead which has picnic tables, water, and an outhouse), but Long Lake does have a picnic table.
I hiked the whole loop last year in early June. Some sections were muddy and there were several remaining snowdrifts. The trail switchbacks on the inclines, making the climb not too strenuous. Motorbikes and side-by-sides (50-inch width max.) are allowed on the trail, and weekends in July and August see a lot of traffic.
I hiked to Long Lake via the left fork this past week and stayed a couple days. The trail is in good shape. There was four inches of snow on the upper trail but it melted before my hike out. The creeks have lots of fish, as does Long Lake. Long Lake is a trophy lake and the limit is two fish, none under 20 inches. The biggest we caught was only 16 inches, but it was a lot of fun.
Sunrises at Long Lake are breathtaking. You can't see the actual sunrise, but the lake reflects those rocky peaks with the sun just touching them, making a stunning picture.

Friday, August 14, 2015

A pleasant uphill grind, with a harsher climb over a tall ridge to a pretty bowl with lakes. Most interesting was sunset sun or alpenglow on the ridges. A nice buck visited our campsite for breakfast before the dogs scared it off. My 11-year old daughter hiked over the 10,000' ridge and had fun despite the midnight downpour. The lower trail is quite busy and includes bikes.

mountain biking
Monday, August 03, 2015

Great trail, steep and rocky... A bit I hike a bike and still had snow in the switch backs early july

Thursday, July 09, 2015

It was a steeper hike in than we expected, it was hot so maybe that made it seem worse. It was also busier than we'd heard. We caught several 8-12" trout and camped next to the inlet. It was beautiful. Next time we'd like to make it to Fishpole Lake.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Beautiful area, great lake and camping spots. Easy hike to Fishpole Lake. Hike itself was very short (1.6 miles). but first 1/4 mile or so was very steep and trail was slick with small rock or I would give it 5 stars!

Sunday, March 01, 2015

There is a camp on the right fork of fall creek just as the trail splits to go to Moose Lake or up to Surprise Valley. The trail has a steep section at the beginning then crosses the creek. You then follow up the right fork drainage and on up. The trail of the Right Fork ends at the fork to Moose Lake.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Amazing hike - very steep but also short well worth the hike the lakes are beautiful - great camp sites and fishing

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

It is a beautiful trail, with a gorgeous lake at the end. I highly recommend it to families.

on Merriam Lake

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Beautiful lake, hike is deceiving. Starts our nice but gets a little rough 3/4 through. 2 rough areas but overall I give it a moderate rating. No equipment needed but fishing poles, fishing was awsome

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