Boulder Mountain is the sister peak to Jughandle Mountain
. They sit across from each other, overlooking the Boulder Creek drainage and sharing a trailhead and trailhead campground.
The summit offers excellent views. You will also find the remnants of an old Forest Service lookout.
Boulder Mountain also offers excellent backcountry skiing, although it is a long approach and some areas around the mountain are over-run by snow machines.
The route described here is about 4.5 miles each way, with a gain of about 2050'. Class 1.
There are shortcuts available, but they are Class 2 bushwacks.
About 1.5 miles south of the traffic light at the McCall airport/Hwy 55, turn east on Farm to Market Road (paved). Follow this road through four 90 degree bends. After a bridge crossing Lake Fork Creek and at another 90 degree bend, turn left (actually go straight; the bend goes right) on FS-403 and head up the hill. Shortly after the top of the hill, the pavement ends. Stay on the main road, and reach the parking at Boulder Reservoir in about 5 miles from the end of the pavement.
There are parking spaces all over, but sometimes finding an empty space is a challenge because the reservoir is a popular local fishing hole.
The first part of this route is a popular day hike from McCall. At about 1.5 miles and 700' gain, it's an easy hike from Boulder Meadows Reservoir, the trailhead, to Boulder Lake. There is a signed trail just north (uphill) from the dam.
After you arrive at Boulder Lake, the trail swings to the south of the lake, passing through quite a few well-loved camp spots. At the far end of the lake, the trail meanders through some meadows and at about 2.5 miles (and another 50' of gain) you will come to a trail intersection. Go left and follow the now-thinning trail for another 1.25 miles and 700' gain to Boulder Summit (as in saddle).
From the saddle, the trail is a little more difficult to follow. However, you can always just go up because the forested slopes are not too thick in brush. If you stay on the trail, it's a little less than a mile and 600' more gain to the top.
Although there are campsites at the trailhead, for spoiled mountaineers it is too busy for good camping. Boulder Lake offers some nice spots, but don't expect to be alone, as this is another popular fishing spot.
Payette National Forest
McCall Chamber of Commerce
McCall area web cams
Idaho road report
McCall, Idaho wiki
Super Dave's trip report
IdahoSummits.com trip report
For additional information on this climb and other peaks in the area, please see Tom Lopez's excellent book, Idaho: A Climbing Guide.