Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Boardman Lake

Location: Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington
Duration: 1-2 Day
Season: Spring - Fall
Distance: ~ 2 miles, round-trip
Difficulty: Easy

Boardman Lake trail is located in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest of Washington State. This immense forest ranges from Mt. Rainier National Park north to the Canadian border. MBSNF includes over 1,711,241 acres of prime forestland, eight Wilderness areas, and the Skagit Wild and Scenic River, which hosts the largest population of wintering bald eagles in the United States.

In this National Forest are two of Washington's volcanoes, Mt. Baker and Glacier Peak, and there are some 1500 miles of hiking trails to explore. This vast area is divided into four ranger districts, with several visitor centers to serve the needs of everyone from mountaineers challenging glacier-hung peaks in the backcountry to touring families taking advantage of some of the most dramatic scenery accessible by car.

All travelers should be aware that the Cascade Mountains create their own weather. Check local weather stations and pack for a wide variety of conditions, from sun to rain, to the possibility of year-round snow at higher elevations.

The Boardman Lake trail is located in the Darrington Ranger District which includes 570,000 acres of majestic mountains, glacier fed rivers and ice-capped peaks to explore. The history of Monte Cristo dates back to the 1890's, when gold was discovered and a railroad was built along the South Fork of the Stillaquamish River, later to be used as a passenger train. The train brought people from all over to the Big Four Inn, where they could hike to the only ice caves in the area.

The Mountain Loop Highway enables people to travel from Granite Falls to Darrington. While driving the loop road you can experience a wide variety of attractions. From old mines, the old chimney at Big Four, avalanches, beaver ponds, waterfalls and slow moving rivers. Even the historical guard station on the Suiattle River still remains.

As for the trail, Lake Evans and Boardman Lake are two very close lakes. Evans is a short 0.1 mile from the trailhead. Lake Evans is a rather small, quaint, lake surrounded by huge old growth trees. Although there are no campsites at the lake, it does make a great picnic stop. Travel a short ways back to the main trail, to continue on to Boardman Lake, which is another 0.8 mile and 300 feet elevation gain.

The trail leads off around the eastside of Evans Lake. Traveling away from the lake on a well-groomed trail, entering into an old growth forest right away. Walking among the towering giants of the past, they are unbelievable. As the trail does a little roller coaster ride, it then travels up a small ridge, along the way there are several cedar puncheon and wooden stairs here and there.

The trail descends as you approach Boardman Lake, the outlet is next to the trail, with a logjam that has been turned into a bridge. At this point, the trail crosses the outlet and climbs a set of stairs to a plateau above the lake. There are several campsites in this area, along the way trails lead down to beaches on the lake. The trail ends at the southeast corner of the lake.

By not crossing the outlet the trail continues down the northside of the lake for a short distance then the trail becomes a fisherman's trail up to Island Lake. This trail is hard to follow in places. Bald Mountain can be seen from the northside of the lake.

Directions: From Seattle drive north on Interstate 5 and take the Monroe/Wenatchee exit for U.S. Highway 2. Follow the signs to Lake Stevens and turn left on state Route 9, then right on Highway 92 to Granite Falls. Drive through town and turn left on the Mountain Loop Highway. Drive 15.8 miles east on Mountain Loop Highway # 92 turn right on to Forest Service Road # 4020. Travel approximately 3 miles to a Y in the road take the left road. Continue on FS Rd. #4020 to Boardman Lake trailhead. Boardman Lake trailhead is about 5 miles from the highway, road repair needed in places.

For a map, pictures and more info click on Boardman Lake

See you on the trail,

All Day Energy Runners

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