It's time to recap another "top ten" hike from 2021. In this post, the spotlight will be on the Boulder Lake - Bonney Meadows Trail, a hike I did with friends Debbie and Barry back in early October.
(If you missed the post naming my top ten favorite hikes for 2021, you can catch it here.)
|At the first trail junction|
|Map of our route|
Even though I'd just returned from a 3-day trip to Central Oregon, and was leaving for the coast the following day, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to finally check this hike off my list. So early that morning found me in my good friends Debbie and Barry's car driving over Mt. Hood on the way to the Boulder Lake Trailhead. It was quite a journey just to reach the trailhead! After passing over Mt. Hood on highway 26, we turned onto highway 35. From White River Snopark, we turned off highway 35 onto the first of many Forest Service roads. I had printed directions from the Oregon Hikers website, and Debbie had slightly different directions from a hiking app (I think it was Alltrails). Encountering a road closure, we realized my directions were probably outdated. Good thing we had Debbie's directions! These led us through a maze of FS roads, each in worse condition than the one before, until we reached the final road that took us right to the trailhead.
|Climbing uphill to Little Boulder Lake|
Whew! It had taken well over 2 hours to get here. After much-needed potty breaks in the bushes (no facilities at this trailhead) my friends and I shouldered our backpacks and headed up the first of many trails we'd follow today. I included a map of our route (see photo above) to help explain all the twists, turns, and tracks for the day's hike.
|Little Boulder Lake|
Starting at the Boulder Lake Trailhead, we took a short quarter-mile path, past tiny Spinning Lake and reached the junction of the Boulder Lake and Little Boulder Lake Trail. Which way to go first? My friends and I decided to hike the loop clockwise, take the Little Boulder Lake Trail first, and save Boulder Lake for last. (Little did we realize that this junction was merely a stone's throw away from Boulder Lake itself!)
|Lunch break high above the lakes|
The Little Boulder Lake trail had us climbing up a steep ridge past huckleberry bushes just beginning their autumn color transformation. Then we continued slightly downhill before reaching the shore of Little Boulder Lake, rimmed by beautiful golden grasses. Not far from this lake, my friends and I reached another junction, this with an old logging road.
|Fantastic fall colors|
We followed this old logging road for nearly a mile as it twisted and climbed through alternating forests and clearcuts. The open areas had fantastic sweeping views of the valley below. At a tight bend in the road, Barry noticed a trail heading off into the forest. It wasn't signed, but with my gps and Barry's phone app (plus my map) we were able to determine that this was the next trail on the loop.
|Looking down at Little Boulder Lake|
This next trail, the Forest Creek Trail No. 473, took us uphill through a large brushy meadow (which I later learned was a recovering clear cut). Now well past noon, my friends and I had grumbling tummies, so when I noticed a few stumps in a clearing I suggested we take a lunch break.
|More blazing huckleberry bushes|
It turned out to be a great spot to sit and refuel. Nestled among the huckleberry and manzanita bushes, and some short fir trees, my friends and I enjoyed the forest views.
|Must've been a good beargrass year!|
|Some yellow and gold huckleberry leaves|
|Sweeping panorama at Echo Point|
|Lots of trails at Bonney Meadows|
|The tip of Mt Hood was visible from the meadows|
|At the end of a terrible road was Bonney Meadows campground|
|Crossing a huge talus slope|
|More huckleberry loveliness|
|The underbrush was quite colorful|
|Boulder Lake - finally!|
|The cliffs surrounding the lake were lit up in fall colors|
|It was quite beautiful, despite the late afternoon light|
|Yours truly, enjoying the beauty|