Ruffneck Lake in the Frank Church Wilderness Area Sep 6 - 9, 2017

Langer and Ruffneck Lakes trailhead is easy to drive to and the lakes are easy to hike to. Despite the burned out area near the beginning, the area around the lakes is still beautiful. We were unfortunate to have a lot of smoke left over from forest fires burning to the north.
Here are a few good links:

Here is map of the driving route from Boise to the trail head.

The Road

The fastest way from Boise is to take highway 21 from Lowman and head toward Stanley. About 15 miles before Stanley turn off 21 at the Cape Horn, Seafoam area and continue north east for about another 8 miles until arriving at small parking lot on the side of the road. Look for the Langer Monument on the left side of the road. A regular car can get to this trailhead easily.

The Trail

The trail to Ruffneck Lake is about 2.7 miles and gains less than 1000 feet of elevation. The trail starts somewhat steeply for the first half a mile, but then is very flat the rest of the way to Langer and then to Ruffneck. The trail is well maintained and well used by humans and horses. There is a lot of old burn area on the first part of the trail. It is an easy hike.

There is a well travelled trail from Langer Lake to the Ruffneck Peak lookout. There was a less well used trail from Langer Lake to Rocky Lake. We found a trail from the Langer Lake basin that went over the saddle to the west to an unnamed Lake and then on to Finger Lakes. We visited the Finger lakes and unnamed lake by bushwhacking north from the Ruffneck lookout. route map shows the routes we took.


Our basecamp was on the east end of Ruffneck Lake, basically right off the main trail. All the campsites were on the east end. The campsites are large, but heavily used. It is easy to tell that lots of groups bring horses to these camps. There were still so many flies in the area even in September when all the mosquitos are gone that it was still quite annoying.


Except for Big Finger Lake, the fishing was mediocre, at best. We caught no fish in Langer and only a few in Ruffneck and Island. It is hard to get to the Finger Lakes, but if you do, expect great fishing in the big Finger Lake. The fish were more interested in lures than flies. We were catching fat, healthy rainbow and hybrids, some more than 16 in.


The Ruffneck lookout is pretty cool. The bushwhacking to Finger Lakes was fun. Overall the fishing was disappointing. The campsites were nice, except for the hordes of flies.

Useful links

Leave No Trace.