• Activities:

    Photography, Swimming, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    15 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    2115 Feet

Dog Friendly
Family Friendly
Forest
Lake
River
Romantic
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Wildlife
Swimming Hole

Waterfalls, Alpine Lakes, Wildflowers, Mountain Views, and the most glorious valley you've ever seen.

Overview: Round Trip about 15 miles, about 500 ft ascent at beginning and 1500 ft ascent in the last 1.5 miles, the majority of the hike is flat and through an AMAZING valley. 

Getting There: Blue Lake Trailhead is located at Oh Be Joyful campground on Slate River Rd, just across a river, either 4x4 vehicle to access parking lot off of trailhead - or - park in campground and wade through the river to access trailhead. Reference photos for detail. 

Description: Begin Hike at the parking lot, you start through a lighter almost gladed forest, not but couple hundred feet in - the trail turns right and you start to climb. Once you're out of the the forest - you'll follow the trail along near a cliff / river edge, waterfalls will tower high above you in the distance coming down from the mountains and you'll pop in and out of trees for another mile or so - always be looking up. There will be a bit more of a climb and curve to the right, then you'll hit the wilderness sign. After here the trail starts to flatten out into the most MAJESTIC wildflower valley you've ever seen this lasts for the majority of the hike - about 3/4 miles. Again Waterfalls to your left the whole way, with mountains that look like nothing you've seen before, in the far distance you'll see a range, that's where you're headed. Stop and take pictures of all the wildflowers too! You'll eventually hit a gate, I would suspect this gate is about halfway - just for purpose of mental note. Again you'll continue on in the valley. When you hit the forest again - you'll start to climb. Reaching a fork - you'll go left into the basin where treeline breaks, waterfalls all around, you'll see the waterfall coming from the mountain in the middle straight in front of you, your lake is up there. Follow the trail through the bottom of the basin and then climb the switchbacks. You'll reach your lake in no time, the majority of the climb is here, but it's worth every step. Hike out is downhill the whole way, I'd estimate 2-3 hours to get out.

Pack List

  • Backpack
  • Camera
  • Quick Dry Towel - for jumping in alpine lakes
  • Swimsuit - optional
  • Hiking Shoes
  • Rain Jacket
  • A positive attitude
  • A dog - optional, but highly recommended 

Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Holly Mandarich Storyteller

I’m a creative whose life is defined by passion. Design - Photography - and The Outdoors, it's what I live for. Life is about new experiences, let's create them together.

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