Friday, August 12, 2016

Hike to Louie Lake near McCall, Idaho

Louie Lake
Louie Lake is a pretty alpine lake hidden in the mountains of central Idaho. It's a nice reward at the end of a modest hike that starts near the town of McCall. You might want to bring a lunch to eat on the shore of the lake, or if you dare, plunge into the lake's chilly waters.

The hike to Louie Lake is around four and half miles round-trip -- not terribly long, but be aware that the route in is a steady uphill climb, some of it steep. You gain about 1,500 feet in elevation in all.

Some online guides say this trail can be a hard to follow. That's not really true, as long as you stick to a simple rule: Just keeping going up. 

Driving in, the last five miles or so are on a winding dirt road. At the parking area, you'll find the Louie Lake trailhead toward the right end (as you arrive). There is a sign for the trail, so don't assume you've found the trail if you don't see it marked. If you immediately cross a creek on a log "bridge," you're on the right trail.

Key point: When you hit a fire road (logging road?), follow it uphill. Do NOT cross the road and follow the trail down on the other side. Stick to the road.

Soon after that, you will see a crudely painted sign pointing Louie Lake hikers to the right. My first instinct when I saw this was to take a 90-degree turn right and follow a trail down. That's wrong. Just slightly tilt to the right side of the road at the sign and continue to go up. Stay on the road.

Have fun!


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