Well behaved dogs can be off leash. There are existing fire pits at the lake (please use). Often, other backpackers will be around - beneficial if you're not ready to enter Idaho's expansive wilderness with just your own group/family. 9 miles roundtrip. Elevation Gain: 1950 feet.

Perhaps one of the best beginner-esque lake hikes closest to Boise, making your way to Jennie Lake can either be packed-in overnight or and out-and-back day hike. You'll be delighted by the secluded ambiance of the lake and the cool mountain breeze rushing through the pines.

Getting There:
Make your way to the Jennie Lake trailhead by heading north on Hwy 21 (from Boise) past Idaho City but before Lowman. About 10 to 15 miles after Idaho City you'll see signs for Whoop-Um-Up recreation area, which directly after you'll turn right onto 384 and then eventually take the fork left to 348. This road seems to be maintained and suitable for most sedans (...maybe not a Prius). After 7 miles after the fork, look for a sign that says "Jennie Lake trail". Searching Google Maps "Jennie Lake Trailhead" will navigate you via exact directions to the trailhead, which is a quaint 5-6 car gravel parking.

From there, the trail is quite obvious, starting at ~5,900 ft and ascending essentially the entire way to the lake. Plan 3 to 4 hours for the ascent along a well marked, dirt and gravel trail (about 4 1/2 miles). You'll see wildflowers, pine, deer, a mint field, and a small river.

Pack List

Dayhike:

  • Daypack (18-24L)
  • Light jacket
  • Trail shoes/hiking boots
  • Water
  • Camera
  • Bug spray (in Summer)

Overnight:

  • Hiking boots
  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad/pillow
  • Rations/dishes/stove
  • Water/water purifier
  • Bug spray
  • Light jacket
  • Lantern/headlamp
  • Book
  • Camera
  • 1 or 2 friends

Pack out what you pack in! #LeaveNoTrace

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Activities Camping, Fishing, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Summer, Autumn
Features
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Lake
River
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Tougher than I expected

Beautiful wildflowers, Trail was great. Didn’t see any animals because we hiked in the middle of the day. I don’t consider this an easy hike. We did it as a day hike and I was exhausted by the time I got to the lake. Maybe if you hike a lot, this would be no big deal. But we did this based on the reviews that we read, and I don’t get to hike very often. Really loved the scenery but will not do it again at my age and skill level.

Pretty Hike

Me and my brother hiked in there on a Friday night. It was a beautiful hike! We both enjoyed it. The lake is pretty, but wasn’t one to swim in because the lake floor was nasty. And the fish didn’t bite at all! Ha but it was still really pretty and I bet if we would have climbed wolf peak it would have been a better trip

about 1 year ago

End Of October Trip

So we decided to hike up to Jennie Lake end of October! The hike is def for beginners, not rough at all just a bit long (but I think it seemed that way cause we had such heavy packs). We made it in 3 hours up (with 2 breaks) and 1.5 hours back down. Going up is pretty gradual although most your steeper little hills are at the beginning of the trail. Flattens out the rest of the way till the last bit up to the lake, which again still wasn’t very steep. The last 30 minutes had 6 inches of snow, trail was still easy to route. And the lake had decent snow around it. The hardest part was it was freezing at night (we camped out) and all the wood was very wet which made the fire super hard to keep going, but we managed! Road up was well maintained and could def be done in a sedan! Parking lot was small but worked! We were the only ones there. Lake is smaller than I expected, but def saw TONS of fish jumping, for all you fishermen! Would def go again in the summer! Bonus: saw a super cute black bear cub on our way down. Obviously didn’t stop to take pics cause didn’t know where mama was, but was still a super cute surprise!


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

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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