Explore the most popular fishing trails in Payette 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.

Great hike. We saw a mountain lion footprint in the snow right on the trail. At about 1.5 miles, there are some switchbacks with large rocks covering the trail. Keep going, you'll pick up the trail again. At that point you are about 1/2 mile from Upper Boulder Lake. Lower Boulder Lake was empty in mid-October, but the Upper lake was still full-ish.

Great trail with a beautiful destination! Highly recommend!

The road to the trailhead is not well marked, so watch closely for FS 316.

Loved this hike especially in the Fall. The colors were out of this world. Louie Lake was especially gorgeous as were the fall colors. Beware that the hike is not well marked. We luckily did not get lost but you easily could. Make sure you bring a map with you as there is not much signage.

Beautiful terrain, vibrant fall colors, and the perfect temp! We went counter clock-wise...headed to Louie Lake first. This is about 2 miles of great cardio and glute work! The only really confusing part was finding the trail at Boulder Lake going to Boulder Lake reservoir- there is a broken wooden bridge, completely caved in at the middle- go around this but start back up at the other side of the broken bridge and follow the trail to the left. The trail continues after you walk across some rocks- this trail was difficult for us to find. Thankfully a family was able to direct us in the right direction!!

Great hike. Anyone can do it if you are up right.

really enjoyable loop with variable terrain and a lot of shade. Did this hike with my 70 yr old parents. with regular breaks and about 45 minutes spent at each lake, our total time was closer to 6 1/2 hours. The trail to Louie from boulder is a few hundred feet past end of lake and marked by a cairn(pile of rocks) that starts with a fairly steep climb

1 month ago

This is our go-to easy one night backpack destination especially when we are introducing new backpackers to the sport. It's a pretty short, reasonably easy hike with a really great reward for minimal effort (doing it as an out-back only to Boulder Lake - about 2 miles in to the lake). There is a nice campsite to the left as you approach the lake - basically at the base of the granite wall. It's the end of the trail so pretty private (except the little critters). We were treated to a graceful display of flight by bats - they were busy keeping the area bug free and putting on a fabulous show for us.

We did the entire 7 mile loop going counter clockwise seeing Lake Louie first then Boulder. Gorgeous all the way around. Not sure how "little ones" do this loop, but impressed if they do.

Did this hike a week ago and loved it. it's easier to go Clockwise.

We did this hike with our two little ones(5 and 7) and it was amazing. The last half mile was challenging for the little ones , but coming up to the lake changed their attitude big time. The water was warm enought that they decided to swim for a bit. Even though the trail was a bit busy, ut was fun all around. Recommend this hike to all.

The whole way up is packed with great challenges, up up up you go, and once you get to the lake, take it in, then get on the next trail to loop around boulder lake, I went counter clockwise, so make sure you keep a close eye on the trail, finding the right trail can be a little tricky , once I got to the other side of the lake I ended up just sticking as close to the lake as I could, much easier to see where I was going, then before I knew it I was back at the beginning of the loop, boulder lake is beautiful!

Loved this hike. We went clockwise, which I believe is the better choice. We had a range of kids on the hike, ages 4 to 12. The ascent was challenging, but we took a good lunch and swim break at Boulder Lake before continuing the loop.
Oh, just remember that as you come down from Louie Lake on the ATV road, you need to look for the right turn on to the “Boulder Lake Trailhead” cutoff trail. It is very clearly marked, but could be easy to fall into a “downhill malaise” and just keep following the road.

One of the most beautiful hikes I’ve been on. Perfect in every way. Wildflowers, lake, small creeks to cross, lots of shade. Very scenic. Had a 5-year old with us and he did fine. Lots of rocks, though, to step through.

Hiked the full Boulder Lake Loop on over to Louie Lake today. We hiked clockwise, which I would highly recommend . When you reach Boulder Lake follow the lake trail to the right and watch for a side trail cutting uphill to the right, marked by a cairn. This is the trail to Louie Lake. It’s another climb, but worth it. We brought fly rods and caught a couple cut throat right off the shore. The trail out is mostly downhill and very dusty. As you descend you eventually end up on a gravel road and then you will see signs on trees and a sign directing you back to Boulder Lake Trailhead. Do it! You will love it!

2 months ago

Hiked the loop today, views were great. Took us longer than we thought it would take. Agree with other post that trail is not marked that great but we found are way. A thank you out to the nice people on the UTV who gave us water as we had run out

2 months ago

A very beautiful and scenic hike that I’d agree is a moderate rated trail, starting out easy and getting more moderate as you climb in elevation. There is a beautiful waterfall just off the trail on the right hand side not far from Boulder Lake itself. Can’t miss it, as you’ll be able to hear the rushing water. Didn’t have time to make the loop, but will make sure I do that next time I’m up visiting.

Didn’t hike the full loop, just to the lake and back. Lots of tiny streams to cross and rocks to climb on which kept the kids (6 & 3) interested. Could use a little more signage but overall a nice day hike. We will be back for the full loop the next time we visit McCall.

Very nice trail. While rated as moderate, my kids would disagree with that...the first section of the trail (I think we did it backwards) is pretty strenuous. The first 3-4 miles. Lots of uphill followed by lots of downhill. But the views are worth the sweat. Absolutely beautiful! Enjoy this one.

trail running
3 months ago

Amazing scenery

Hiked yesterday great workout view of lakes are amazing. More signs would be nice trail can be confusing at time but would do it again for sure

Ended up on the trailhead for boulder when looking for a different trail but what I great hike! Only did the up and back instead of the full loop which is a great little day hike and really covered the whole way which will make it perfect for hotter weeks ahead. Not overly trafficked but you’re also never alone. Some parts very steep so for a quick 2 mile jaunt up there you still get a decent work out. Stunning views both of river along the way and the final lake

Went clockwise past Boulder and then up past Louie. The trail was clear the whole way and in pretty good shape! This is a great day hike for anyone visiting the McCall area.

great view! worth the drive

One of my favorites!

4 months ago

Hiked in to Boulder Lake weekend of 6/1 for the night. Still fallen trees to climb over along the trail, and plenty of snow to trek through along the south side of the lake. The best overnight backpacking trip within distance of the Boise area that can easily be extended to a multi day trip with use of the lakes farther along the trail (Summit, Rapid, Box).

The road up to the trailhead is a dirt road, very bumpy for about 1.5 miles before the trailhead. Bathroom 20 min drive before trailhead.

At the end of May, the access road was still covered in snow that couldn’t be cleared probably by any vehicle, and the bathroom at the trailhead was still locked.

We hiked up the road from Box Lake trailhead anyways, because we were feeling like go-getters and had come all the way, and decided to camp at Duck Lake. Only about a 1/3 of the trail was covered in snow, mainly the portion closest to Duck Lake, and a thin layer of ice was still covering half the lake’s surface.

No sight of bears. Tons of giant fallen trees covering the trail and access road. According to Payette National Forest site, this trail hasn’t been maintained since summer 2016, but scheduled for July of this year. We’ll definitely return again to cover the whole route to Loon Lake once the conditions are better. Contrary to the info other sites offer about this trail (best season starting in March), it is obviously still not in season by May.

4 months ago

We went clockwise. Between Louie and Boulder lakes there was quite a bit of snow still on the trail. Great views and trail was in good shape otherwise.

It’s Memorial Day weekend and we actually ended up here after not being able to find the trailhead we wanted! We made this out & back for 4 miles, but enjoyed it immensely! The trail was definitely popular and had young kids to some older adults on it, and a lot of dogs!
It was great with our dog because there were quite a few streams of water he could take a sip from along the way. The Boulder Lake still had ice on it in the shade when we arrived. Some steep sections, and, as the name implies, boulders. I would recommend close-toed shoes, but I did see folks with Chacos.

One of my favorite places to hike and backpack!!!!!

11 months ago

The last mile was really steep but the lake was well worth it.

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