Hike to Upper Hazard Lake via Hard Creek

Hard Creek Trailhead, Pollock, Idaho, United States

  • Activities:

    Camping, Fishing, Backpacking, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Summer

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    4.8 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    500 Feet

Dog Friendly
Family Friendly
Forest
Lake
Scenic
Wildflowers

Hike through green, rolling meadows, plenty of wildflowers, and panoramic vistas on the way to two quaint alpine lakes. Perfect for the beginner or young trekker, yet not boring for the intense backpacker. 

Trail 169 starts out of a small campground off Hazard Lake road. To get to the trailhead, you leave paved roads for about 15 miles of travel on a gravel road, fit for any vehicle - no worries Prius. The campground seems like a suspiciously unofficial campground (nothing wrong with that) but also has an authentic feel. Regardless, feel free to make camp here if you wish.

Start off on trail 169 at 7000' of elevation and continue for about 1.5 miles through some rolling mountain meadows. You'll come to a fork in the trail where you'll want to turn left. This fork is designated by signs posted on trees on either side of the split. 

Continue after the fork for another mile uphill to the first lake, Hard Creek Lake. Snap some photos, take lunch, and continue to the right...the south side of the lake. The trail remains obvious around the lake, so if you're bush-wacking you've gone the wrong way.

Ascend a few dozen more feet along the trail to 7500' and you'll find yourself above Upper Hazard Lake, a much bigger lake than the first. Descend to the lake and you'll notice a few areas that have been used for backpackers to make camp. I counted 3 spots that were well established on the east side of the lake and 1 spot that looked good just to the west of the lake's creek outlet (on the north-side). 

Note: there is no established trail that goes around Upper Hazard lake. 

Pack List

Day Hike:

  • Daypack 
  • Snacks 
  • Water
  • Bathing Suit 
  • Fishing Rod 
  • Camera 
  • Dog on leash

Overnight (all of the above, plus):

  • Tent 
  • Sleeping Bag/pad 
  • Layers 
  • Water filtration 
  • Bear spray 
  • Book 
  • Hammock 
  • No permit needed at this site
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Reviews

Overall rating: 

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Amazing two lakes. I will definitely be back and hope to spend more time at each in the future (possibly camp). Drove from Lewiston to Cascade and decided to stop here for a quick hike. The forest road is long, but amazing so kudos to whoever keeps that up. I parked at the trailhead 169 which is just before the campground. You will run into Upper Hazard Lake before Hard Lake.

6 months ago
6 months ago

Garren Moore

Programming by week, mountains by weekend.

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