Boulder, Crystal, Dollar and Turbid high mountain lakes near Darby, MT.
Hike up Boulder Creek trail #617 about 8 miles to The Boulder Lakes trail #249 1.17 miles. As you start up the trail you will find all types of fungus. If you are fond of mushroom hunting this would make a great day hike. There are tons of wild berries along the trail. At times there are butterflies flying around everywhere. You will weave through old growth forests, boulder fields, breath taking views and much more. There are plenty of spots along the creek to stop and get some water or catch some trout for lunch. This creek is full of trout and they seem to bite the original Mangler inline spinners everytime.
A couple of miles into the hike you will come upon Boulder Falls. It is easy to miss if you aren't paying attenion. When the trail turns to the right sharply the first time, the falls are on another trail off to your left.
The falls are a nice break early on with several nice trout fishing or swimming pools at the bottom. The Boulder Falls are beautiful, but I wouldn't classify them as falls. It is more like a long step rapid or chute. Still, it is very nice and the mist will cool you off.
There are a few sections of the trail that take you off of the main creek, so make sure you keep your water bottles full. There are some side creeks occasionally if you miss your opportunities.
At the junction of trail #617 and #249 there is a really pretty but tiny lake. I think this one is very shallow and kill freezes every year. Not sure if it has a name. It isn't named on the map. We didn't find any fish in this one. The first big Lake you come to is Boulder Lake. It is a very nice high mountain lake with several nice camping spots. This is where we set up camp. Like the creek, Boulder Lake is full of trout and they love The Mangler inline spinners. Nothing of any size, but perfect pan size fish. They are delicious. We didn't go hungry at all.
In the morning we took our day pack and fishing poles and hiked straight up the hill to the Crystal and Turbid Lakes. Right away we noticed what looked like a big cave on the side of Crystal Lake. We hiked through deep snow to get over to the cave. Pretty funny, it was just a huge dark spot on the cliff with a small overhang. Very pretty, but not a cave at all. The fishing is great in both of these lakes and the trout seem to be bigger. Sometimes I notice that the flesh of high mountain lake trout can be kind of mushy in certain lakes. Boulder lake seemed to have mushy smaller trout. Crystal and Turbid Lake trout are much bigger and have firmer flesh.
Crystal and Turbid lakes are twin lakes literally right next to each other. If you want to go Dollar lake it is down hill again from here. You can look down onto Dollar Lake from the edge of Turbid Lake. This is a very pretty group of high mountain lakes. Lots of trout were caught using The Mangler inline spinners.