If you are like me: I felt stir crazy and needed an adventure. Blue Lake fell upon my lap at the exact moment I needed her and boy, was she STUNNING. A quick drive from Boise and an easy hike, Blue Lake Trail is one of the most rewarding, dog/family friendly day trip hikes you can go on!
The Big Picture:
The name of the trailhead is Blue Lake Trailhead and you can find the All Trails profile here. At this time, I’d like to remind you all to always remember the 7 principles of “Leave No Trace,” which you can find here.
It’d consider this out and back hike easy, quick with an extremely high reward and many great features including waterfalls, wildflowers and of course: a beautiful lake! I’ve read that the best time of year to visit is summer & fall and that the trail doesn’t open until June. The elevation gain is only 300 feet and its on the back on the way back to the parking lot.
How To Get Here:
Only 80 miles from Boise, it was the ideal day trip. Before Cascade, a quick trip on highway 55 will lead you to this trail. After an uphill 6 mile drive on gravel, you reach the trailhead. Some important things to note: it’s closed every winter and only opens June 1st. I’ve heard it has snow as late as the fourth of July, so be mindful.
Let’s dive in!
ONE MILE through a super pleasant downhill hike will land you at the prettiest lake and scenery. If you’re good with that, turn around and head back. BUT if you want a little more, you can continue around a 3 mile loop filled with waterfalls and adventure.
I definitely recommend you wear a bathing suit under your clothes or bring them in a bag. It’s an easy hike and in mid-summer, you simply cannot resist taking a jump. I thought I wasn’t going to want to, but those alpine waters were more than inviting.
After the gorgeous waterfall, there’s a small “island” you can wade in the water to get to. We hung out there for at least an hour and it was the perfect spot for a dip and a small picnic.
The hike up afterwards was much harder than the hike down, but it really was quick if you just power through! It maybe took us fifteen minutes to get it done.
So, all in all, if you’re looking for a high reward day trip outside of Boise, I highly recommend Blue Lake near Cascade! Even better news is that it’s about 20 minutes south of Gold Fork Hot Springs and 30 minutes from the city of McCall so you could make a whole day of it!
Good luck exploring and happy traveling! As always, please let me know if you have any questions.
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