Backpack from Iceberg Meadow
to Boulder Lake

In the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness

From the end of the Clark Fork Road to Boulder Lake

The Trail to Boulder Lake

Begins Easy, Finishes Tough

Boulder Lake is hidden away in the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness. This charming little lake makes a nice overnight backpacking destination from the end of the Clark Fork Road. The 4-mile hike includes a 1,700' climb, most of it coming in the last 2 miles.

Boulder Lake is not known as a great fishing destination, but anglers may want to try their luck in the Clark Fork where brook trout hide in the pools. Great views of the surrounding countryside emerge once you gain enough elevation on the Boulder Creek portion of the trail.

map of hike to Boulder Lake

Hiking Guide to Boulder Lake


Getting Organized

Wilderness Permits for a backpacking trip to Boulder Lake can be picked up at the Summit Ranger Station near Pinecrest or back at the Mi-Wuk Village Ranger Station. There are no restrooms at the trailhead. Water is plentiful all along the route.

Getting to the Iceberg Meadow Trailhead

From Pinecrest drive up Highway 108 to the Clark Fork Road turnoff and follow it to the end at Iceberg Meadow. Parking is limited along the shoulder of the Clark Fork Road, but there are rarely more than two or three cars there. The granite peak known as The Iceberg looms over the meadow.

Hiking to Boulder Lake

St. Mary's Pass

Set out along the Clark Fork Trail which parallels the river. At times the trail will diverge from the river for short distances, but will always return. Hiking is pleasant through a dense forest. Try your luck at fishing in some of the pools along the way.

After a little more than 2 miles you reach the turnoff to Boulder Lake. The main trail continues on up the Clark Fork and crosses St. Mary's Pass before descending to join Highway 108 just west of Sonora Pass. The original route for the 19th century Sonora and Mono Wagon Road was planned to go up the Clark Fork, but surveyors decided the Deadman Creek route was a better choice.

Once you turn up the Boulder Lake trail your backpacking journey becomes more difficult. The trail is not well maintained. You may have to scramble around fallen trees and do a little route finding on your own in places. Boulder Creek, however, serves as a guide, and challenging sections are usually brief. As you approach Boulder Lake the trail swings to the right and up one last steep pitch.

Camping at Boulder Lake

Boulder Lake

The best campsites are easy to scout since Boulder Lake is so small. Try the stand of trees in the northwest corner or areas back from the north shore. Firewood for campfires is plentiful.

Nearby Adventures

Hike to Golden Canyon - For experienced cross-country hikers, continue up Boulder Creek to the ridge and then turn left on the Pacific Crest Trail, following it around to the head of Golden Canyon. The 1841 emigrants in the Bidwell-Bartleson Party came up Golden Canyon and crossed the Sierra crest there, descending west via Disaster Creek. Great views of the eastern Sierra unfold once you reach the ridge top.