Backpack to Born Lakes

Rate this Adventure Idaho 4th of July Lake Trailhead

Added by Garren Moore

Traverse over a small divide into Ants Basin for the opportunity to see and camp at multiple crystal clear lakes with phenomenal mountain backdrops.

Due to it's higher-than-average starting point, many backpackers use this trailhead to access the remote parts of the Boulder-White Cloud wilderness. The trailhead for this hike, nestled at 8850', is readily accessible by Prius and Jeep alike as the gravel road is well maintained, notwithstanding typical wash-boarding. Within a few miles before the trailhead are some easy places to pull alongside the river and set up a tent overnight, if you're looking to pack up your gear and get an early start.

The first 1.5 miles of the trail are a mild incline and moderate-to-highly trafficked. Fourth of July Lake is a popular spot for folks looking to spend a day with the family. Before arriving to this first lake, there is a fork. To the right continues on to Chamberlain basin, but also 100 yards down the path provides a good view of Fourth of July Lake. It is worth taking a right at the fork for a short distance to see this lake.

After having gone right at the fork, backtrack to the fork and take the left (northerly) route. This route ascends from 9300' at the fork to 9900' at the top of the divide which is the highest point in the 4 mile hike. The views are spectacular overlooking Ants Basin. In the basin, you can see the path meander down below and continue it's west-northwesterly direction to Born Lakes.

The descent into Ants Basin is a drop of 330' in altitude over 1500' of distance which equates to the toughest part of the hike, especially on the way back. Take your time and use your trekking poles on the way down and back.

1.1 miles of some incline but mostly decline and you'll arrive at the first and second Born Lakes. The the and preferred lake, Born Lake 9555, is located a quarter mile up the trail.

Pack List

  • Tent 
  • Sleeping Bag 
  • Sleeping Pad 
  • Fishing Pole (spinner lure does just fine) 
  • Water filtration system 
  • Hiking Boots/Shoes 
  • Trekking Poles 
  • Layers for the crisp nights 
  • Dog (with extra water as there is good distance between water sources) 
  • Bear Spray 
  • Friends 
  • Free Permit (sign up sheet at trailhead)
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More



Backpacking, Camping, Fishing, Hiking

Skill Level:




Trail Type:



8 Miles

Elev. Gain:

2000 Feet


Dog Friendly
Easy Parking

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Added by Garren Moore

Programming by week, mountains by weekend.

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