The phrase “at least once” is an important part of the headline. A big part of the attraction of Upper Hazard Lake is the trail’s accessibility to hikers of practically all ages. The 5.1 mile, out-and-back trail barely rises in elevation, until shortly before the lake. Yet visiting the lake as a child is no reason to cross this hike off your list — it is worth doing repeatedly because both the journey and the destination are worthwhile. That’s especially true in July and August, when the meadows come alive with wildflowers and the water temperature becomes ideal for swimming. Almost any time of year, the lake is a pristine body of water to view.

The trailhead to Upper Hazard Lake is about 25 miles north of McCall, near the town of Pollock. From McCall, take Idaho 55 north for 5 miles, then turn right on Goose Lake Road (Forest Road 257). Travel north for 16 miles and watch for the trailhead on the right. And there’s more to see in the town of McCall.

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