Many of the Silverthorne area trails are popular and busy, especially on weekends. For hikers looking for solitude, just a short drive from Dillon Lake brings many options to avoid the crowds. One lesser-visited high mountain highlight is Lower Boulder Lake. Given the beauty of the lake and the varied scenery of the trail, it is surprising this lake isn't more popular.
Access to Lower Boulder Lake is easiest from the Rock Creek Trailhead just north of Silverthorne. The road is navigable by passenger car, and there is plenty of parking. From the trailhead it is about a third of a mile to the intersection with the Gore Range Trail, which constitutes much of the route. The trail climbs steadily through woodlands, passing the occasional meadow and offering tantalizing views of the surrounding peaks. At the saddle that is the high point of the trail, the views open up a bit more before the trail heads back downhill to the next drainage, giving back most of the vertical gained. Crossing the creek that is Boulder Lake’s outlet, the trail intersects with the Boulder Lake Trail; a left turn here heads up to the lake, just a half mile away. There is a nice little waterfall about halfway to the lake that is worth a short detour. The trail forks just before the lake; the right path leads to the lake, passing a few backcountry campsites.
The lake is set in a cirque of peaks ranging between 12,000 and 13,000 feet, so the views are a great reward for all the work to reach it. Unfortunately, the return trip involves nearly as much climbing as the hike in.
Note: There is an Upper Boulder Lake about 2 miles further to the west, but the trail is not well-maintained, and navigational skills and bushwhacking would be required to reach the lake.