The Boulder Creek Trail ascends gradually along its namesake creek, climbing steadily but not steeply through oak, madrone, incense-cedar, and fir. The path can be used a number of ways: it makes for a pleasant day hike for campers staying at Goldfield Campground; it’s a good place to start a trip to Foster or Lion Lakes (less crowded than starting at Boulder Lakes, but less scenic variety and it’s all uphill on the way in); or use it and the Sugar Pine Lake Trail to create a spectacular 20-mile loop. Unless you’re a glutton for punishment, don’t use the Boulder Creek Trail to reach Boulder Lakes. It’s more than twice as far as the route from the Boulder Lakes Trailhead, quite a bit steeper, and your reward is cooler-carrying crowds at Boulder Lake. Highlights: Moderately used trail that connects with trails to Foster and Lion Lakes and Boulder Lakes. Can be used to create a longer loop using the Sugar Pine Lake Trail.
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