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Boulder Lake - Happy Lake Ridge Loop



16.1 mile 26.0 kilometer loop
76% Runnable


Ascent: 4,238' 1,292 m
Descent: -4,247' -1,295 m
High: 5,272' 1,607 m
Low: 1,723' 525 m


Avg Grade: 10% (6°)
Max Grade: 57% (29°)


No Dogs
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Trail shared by Pete B

A long climb to an expansive ridge, complete with two stunning lakes.

Pete B

Features Lake · River/Creek · Swimming · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife


This is a great run, crossing multiple streams, and passing by two alpine lakes. The loop doesn't include short side trips to the two lakes, but the extra distance is definitely worth it.

The first side trip option is a short jaunt to Boulder Lake where you can stop for a snack or even a chilly dip in the pristine waters.

Up on Happy Lake Ridge, there's the slightly longer option to check out Happy Lake. This side trip adds about 0.8 miles to the overall loop, but is worth it if you have the time.

Runner Notes

The trails can be a little bit overgrown in places, a few downed trees.


The loop begins on an old road grade (Olympic Hot Springs Trail), which previously had been built to service a resort on hot springs in the area. After about three miles on the road grade, you turn up the hill and begin a very steep climb to Boulder Lake Via the Appleton Pass Trail and the Boulder Lake Trail. There is nothing amazing or extremely notable about this climb, it simply climbs through montane forest toward sub-alpine.

After this climb, there is a short side trail to the left which goes to Boulder Lake, a beautiful sub-alpine lake with exposed rock in the background. In the summer, this lake is warm enough to swim in for extended periods of time, but otherwise a quick dip into frigid waters is always possible.

From the lake, the Happy Lake Ridge Trail climbs a bit further to gain the ridge. The trail continues along this ridge, offering views into the Elwha valley. It eventually reaches the turn-off to Happy Lake, which is not as picturesque as other lakes in the Olympics, as it is buried in the trees, yet it is still worth the trip down.

The trail then continues a short while longer along Happy Lake Ridge before dropping toward the road.

If one were to run this backwards from what is drawn, they could stop at the hot springs before the quick three mile, road-grade jaunt out.

Flora & Fauna

Wildflowers in early, and mid-summer.

History & Background

The hot springs near the loop once housed a large resort, now long gone, though some remnants remain.

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in Washington


18 Views Last Month
1,771 Since Aug 26, 2015



Beautiful Olympic Hot Springs Trail Bridge.
Nov 25, 2015 near Port An…, WA
Olympic Hot Springs Trail. Olympic NP,WA.
Nov 25, 2015 near Port An…, WA
Ridge, before dropping to Happy Lake
Aug 26, 2015 near Port An…, WA
Such amazing plant life on these trails.
Jul 17, 2019 near Port An…, WA
Hot Spring on Olympic Hot Springs Trail.
Nov 25, 2015 near Port An…, WA


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