Location: Mountain Loop Highway near Granite Falls
Land Agency: Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest
Roundtrip: 2.0 miles
Elevation gain: 300 feet
Difficulty: easy (with some rough footing)
Green Trails Map: Silverton, WA-No. 110
Contact: Darrington Ranger District: Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest
Access: From Granite Falls, follow the Mountain Loop Highway east to the Verlot Visitors Center. Continue for 4.7 more miles, turning right onto graveled FR 4020. Proceed for 4.9 miles to trailhead.
Good to know: kid-friendly, dog-friendly
Snuggled within and scattered beneath the scenic cirques and cliffs of elongated Bald Mountain are a handful of delightful backcountry lakes. Ranging in size and scenic splendor, several remain tucked away far from trails and roads making them destinations for intrepid travelers only. Others however lie merely a mile or two away by trail. And still others, like Lake Evan are only a mere sprint from the trailhead.
While it’ll take most hikers a mere thirty minutes to reach both lakes, allow yourself a good half-day to fully enjoy and appreciate this area. Boardman is an ideal place for introducing children to the wonders of nature. Its shimmering waters invite lounging, feet-soaking, and during the dog days of summer, perhaps even a quick dip.
The trail itself will captivate young minds. Gargantuan ancient cedars lining the way will keep heads cocked upward in a constant state of bewilderment. But be sure to watch the trail! While generally well-groomed, a few roots and rocks may stagger your pace
Start your hike in a grove of gargantuan cedars. Then, within mere minutes reach little Lake Evan. Children may be inclined to want to loiter along the forested and marshy shore, but Boardman promises better diversions. Continue hiking under a canopy centuries old. After making one small climb around an area of ledge, arrive at the attractive basin housing Boardman Lake. Surrounded by timbered and rocky knolls, brushy talus slopes and ancient forest, despite being a mere mile from a road, Boardman feels like it’s deep within the wilderness.
Cross the outlet creek on a log jam and head for shoreline sunning and fishing spots. A handful of tidy campsites perfect for neophyte backpackers occupy a forested bench on the lake’s eastern shore. Primitive paths hug the eastern and northern lakeshore but peter-out in brushy and marshy terrain. There are more lakes beyond, but you must be tenacious and experienced at off trail travel to reach them. Instead, enjoy Boardman. It’s large enough to accommodate all of its guests.
For information on lodging and other attractions near Lake Evan and Boardman Lake, visit www.snohomish.org
For more information on this hike and many others along the Mountain Loop Highway, consult my best selling Day Hiking North Cascades (Mountaineers Books); which consists of 125 hikes in all!