Boulder Creek Lakes

Trinity Alps Wilderness

Trinity Alps + Marble Mountain Wilderness, California

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Boulder Creek Lakes


  • Taking the first steps into the wilderness.- Boulder Creek Lakes
  • Passing through a tunnel of deciduous trees.- Boulder Creek Lakes
  • Butterflies gather on a wildflower.- Boulder Creek Lakes
  • Canyon Creek Falls at high flow.- Boulder Creek Lakes
  • The lower portion of Canyon Creek Falls.- Boulder Creek Lakes
  • Giving the legs a break at Canyon Creek Falls.- Boulder Creek Lakes
  • One of the many waterfalls along the trail.- Boulder Creek Lakes
  • The trail is very easy to follow in most places.- Boulder Creek Lakes
  • The largest of the Boulder Creek Lakes.- Boulder Creek Lakes
  • The view from the largest of the lakes toward the main canyon.- Boulder Creek Lakes
  • Beautiful reflections off one of the smaller lakes.- Boulder Creek Lakes
  • Many of the lakes have no campsites near them.- Boulder Creek Lakes
  • A long thin lake stretches near the main lake.- Boulder Creek Lakes
  • Looking out against the canyon from Boulder Creek Lakes.- Boulder Creek Lakes
  • A beautiful bird perches on a tree.- Boulder Creek Lakes
  • A young buck pauses before fleeing moments later.- Boulder Creek Lakes
  • A caterpillar munches on leaves alongside the trail.- Boulder Creek Lakes
Overview + Weather
Stunning views. Multiple lakes. Many backcountry sites. Great for groups.
Little shade. Popular location for large groups. Steep scramble near the end.
Trinity Alps + Marble Mountain Wilderness, CA
Pets allowed: 
Net Elevation Gain: 
3,400.00 ft (1,036.32 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Suitable for:
Hiking, Horseback
Total Distance: 
16.00 mi (25.75 km)
Trail type: 
Trailhead Elevation: 
3,100.00 ft (944.88 m)
Current Local Weather:
Hike Description

Hike Description


Boulder Creek Lakes lie within the Canyon Creek watershed, the most popular watershed for hiking and backpacking in the Trinity Alps Wilderness. Once you have witnessed this canyon's beauty it is very easy to see why. During the summer months many large waterfalls and excellent swimming holes lie adjacent to the trail and near many of the backcountry camp sites.

From the Boulder Creek Trailhead there are two main destinations: Boulder Creek Lakes and Canyon Creek Lakes. Both of these lake sets are approximately the same distance from the trailhead (8 to 9 miles) and offer their own unique beauty. A common plan for backpackers is to set up camp shortly after the junction towards Boulder Creek Lakes. Here there are many backcountry sites in a perfect position for day hikes to the two lake sets. There are also many campsites around Boulder Creek Lakes.

Boulder Creek Lakes themselves are a group of seven or more lakes of varying size. Most of the lakes are small and scattered around the largest of the lakes. For those who wish to take a day trip from the lakes, a scramble up steep granite boulders past the largest of Boulder Creek Lakes leads to Forbidden Lakes, where solitude is almost guaranteed.

The Trinity Alps Wilderness is a bastion of many wildlife species, and Canyon Creek Watershed is no exception. The largest of animals in the area are black bear, mountain lions, and black-tailed deer. At night many visitors can hear and see deer walk into their camp searching for any source of salt they can find. These deer are known for licking and tearing clothes that have been exposed to sweat. Osprey are also frequently observed throughout the rest of the Trinity Alps. A pair of binoculars are great for observing wildlife and maintaining a safe distance. Though some of the animals in alps may seem friendly they are easily impacted by visitors so please be mindful of your presence and practice Leave No Trace principles.

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Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide + Trail Map

Field Guide + Trail Map

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Location + Directions

Nearby Adventures

(16 within a 30 mile radius)

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