Hike to Jennie Lake

Idaho Jennie Lake Trail, Idaho

  • Activities:

    Camping, Fishing, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking

  • Skill Level:


  • Season:

    Summer, Autumn

Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly

Well behaved dogs can be off leash. There are existing fire pits at the lake (please use). Often, other backpackers will be around - beneficial if you're not ready to enter Idaho's expansive wilderness with just your own group/family. 9 miles roundtrip. Elevation Gain: 1950 feet.

Perhaps one of the best beginner-esque lake hikes closest to Boise, making your way to Jennie Lake can either be packed-in overnight or and out-and-back day hike. You'll be delighted by the secluded ambiance of the lake and the cool mountain breeze rushing through the pines.

Getting There:
Make your way to the Jennie Lake trailhead by heading north on Hwy 21 (from Boise) past Idaho City but before Lowman. About 10 to 15 miles after Idaho City you'll see signs for Whoop-Um-Up recreation area, which directly after you'll turn right onto 384 and then eventually take the fork left to 348. This road seems to be maintained and suitable for most sedans (...maybe not a Prius). After 7 miles after the fork, look for a sign that says "Jennie Lake trail". Searching Google Maps "Jennie Lake Trailhead" will navigate you via exact directions to the trailhead, which is a quaint 5-6 car gravel parking.

From there, the trail is quite obvious, starting at ~5,900 ft and ascending essentially the entire way to the lake. Plan 3 to 4 hours for the ascent along a well marked, dirt and gravel trail (about 4 1/2 miles). You'll see wildflowers, pine, deer, a mint field, and a small river.

Pack List


  • Daypack (18-24L)
  • Light jacket
  • Trail shoes/hiking boots
  • Water
  • Camera
  • Bug spray (in Summer)


  • Hiking boots
  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad/pillow
  • Rations/dishes/stove
  • Water/water purifier
  • Bug spray
  • Light jacket
  • Lantern/headlamp
  • Book
  • Camera
  • 1 or 2 friends

Pack out what you pack in! #LeaveNoTrace

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Overall rating: 

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Went on an overnight backpacking trip in early June- was a little too early. There was still several feet of snow at the lake. Beautiful hike though!

about 1 month ago
about 1 month ago

I hiked out here and camped about 3 weeks ago. The hike and lake were very pretty and offered many different types of terrain and foliage. The lake was about 2/3 frozen still, and the trail had a few snow patches. It is very worth it to spend the night up there, but bring bug spray! No mosquitoes in late June, but definitely other pesky insects. The trail gets a little hard to follow near the top but by then you'll have a good idea of where the lake is. Loved this hike and it has a good distance/payoff ratio!

3 months ago
3 months ago

My dad & I ventured this one out with 30lb packs at the end of last October. There was about 6inches of snow around the start of the hike and over a foot until we hit our camp spot. Definitely a harder hike when you add packs and snow in. We hit the lake in the morning for fishing, and the view was gorgeous! Worth it.

4 months ago
4 months ago

I would highly recommend visiting Jennie Lake. A friend camped at the trailhead on a Friday night day hiked the trail the next morning, at the end of September 2015. The lake itself was great, tucked in to some beautiful scenery with granite walls and high mountain vegetation. While at the lake I did a little catch and release fly fishing. Using cinnimon ants, I caught two surprisingly large 14" Cutthroats. The trail follows Bear Creek which offers some shade in the morning hours as well as photo-ops and water for the dogs (if you bring them along). We did run into some hikers on the way out and I think the trail is more popular than I initally thought, due to the abundance of camp sites at the lake itself. The trail is closer to 5 miles one way and has about 2,700' of accumulated elevation gain, most of which is headed to the lake. I used my Garmin to track the journey and you can see the data here: https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/911581475

almost 2 years ago
almost 2 years ago

Garren Moore

Programming by week, mountains by weekend.

Are we missing something? Suggest an edit

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