“So lovely was the loneliness of a wild lake …” — Edgar Allan Poe
Take a break at a lake. When you choose to live in Boundary County you give yourself the chance to explore its spectacular lakes and hiking country. Take a break from the grind and visit one of the many alpine lakes for quiet solitude by hiking to your favorite lake. Boundary County is filled with lakes, creeks trails and ponds to enjoy — and the time to enjoy them is now.
Recently I hiked to Spruce Lake. Hiking is a wonderful way to immerse yourself in the outdoors. Transported by your own two feet and carrying only what you need for the hike on your back, you can discover the beauty of nature at whatever pace you’re comfortable with. And, with a little planning and preparation, it’s an activity that almost anyone can do.
Spruce Lake is a pristine six acre, high-altitude lake accessible by a 0.6-mile hike. The small alpine lake and trail are great for the beginner to advanced hiker. It has beautiful scenery and at the end of the hike is a gem of a lake.
After I arrived at the lake’s edge I enjoyed the serenity and quietness of this lovely little mountain lake, and I ate a sandwich as I soaked in the sights and sounds of this pristine water.
The lake is nestled at the foot of a steep cliff dropping from 6,000-foot Ruby Ridge. As soon as the snow melts and the first clear areas appear, the cliff has a golden glow from blooming glacier lilies. Spruce Lake outlet was originally known as Ruby Creek, but it became known locally as Spruce Creek because of the spruce timber taken from the area for paper production in the early 1900’s.
To access Spruce Lake from U.S. 95, turn right 1 mile south of Eastport onto NF-2517, go 2.8 miles, turn left onto NF-2509, go 3.3 miles, turn left onto NF 403, 2.3 miles, turn right onto NF 2511, 1.1 miles and then turn right to walk on the hiking trail to Spruce Lake.
Moose, mule deer, and elk are the area browsers. Moose are the most evident, as they are not as timid as elk or deer. Although I did not see them around the trail or at the lake, I knew they were there because of their tracks. Time has taught me that with all wildlife you must have patience — if one trip is not rewarding, the next one may be. I was rewarded with spotting an osprey as he dove into the lake for a trout, but after he came out of the water his talons were empty. He carefully looked over the water surface in vain and then he quickly disappeared over the treetops.
In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks. Hikers battle bug bites, blisters and bruises for the sake of overcoming a challenge and enjoying some quality time with nature. But along with the mountain-top and lake views come an abundance of mental and physical perks and just the enjoyment that you are there.
Alpine lake hiking has a limited season. July and August are the go-to months, and they provide the bonus of huckleberry picking if you can find a patch. There is an abundance of huckleberry bushes in the area, providing berry picking if you’re willing to share them with black bears.
Enjoy Boundary County and its beautiful lakes, streams and rivers!