This hike starts at a large public campground called Wilderness Gateway, which is on US Highway 12. It was 400 miles from home.

The trailhead

The sign at the actual wilderness boundary has seen better days

The terrain was fairly lush and shady, which is good since it was very hot. I saw a coyote through here

The trail follows Boulder Creek for 9 miles of very gradual gain. The first part stays well above the creek, but later you get to walk right along side of it

When you get to an area called Horse Camp (which is a cabin), you are also at the Surprise Creek junction, and time to wade across Boulder Creek

Surprise Creek

Four miles further and you get to the lush and spacious Surprise Meadows

At times the trail goes right through the edge of the meadow

Surprise Creek is in the middle

I saw a young deer in the meadow

There are some new bridges but this one has seen better times

Finally, after 15 miles and 4500 feet of gain, I get to the junction

Seven Lakes, my first campsite

Continue to Stanley Butte