The Boundary Trail at Kangaroo Mountain traverses areas in both California and Oregon, the majority in northern California. The trail lies in backcountry wilderness and follows a ridgeline in the Red Butte Range, which is named for the reddish peridotite rock which has formed the mountains. A forest fire in 2017 destroyed swaths of trees and brush along the trail, leaving charred, skeletal trunks behind, and some parts of the trail are still obscured by fallen trees and newly-grown shrubs. But the destruction is mitigated by the magnificent views of lakes, surrounding mountains, including Mount Shasta, and the sheer beauty of the wildflowers you'll find here.
Boundary Trail runs from the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail on a ridge connecting Kangaroo, Desolation and Rattlesnake Peaks, and once you've achieved the summit of the ridge, the hiking is primarily across grassy fields with tiger lilies, yarrow and many other flowers. You may also see deer, bears and smaller mammals in these high mountains or near the lakes and streams that flow from under high boulders. Please keep your distance and a firm hold on Fido's leash.
Wilderness camping is permitted along the trail, but you must be at least 100 feet from any lake, pond or stream. This is strictly a carry-in/carry-out area. You may encounter other hikers, although aside from the volunteers and park service people working to restore the trail, you won't meet many others. The wilderness and trail are open year round, but are most navigable from spring through late fall.
The trail features a couple of lakes that provide opportunities for refreshment and perhaps a dip in their cool waters. Lilypad Lake is small, but inviting, and its somewhat rocky shore is littered with short shrubs and flowers. Kangaroo Lake is larger and deeper, formed by a long-ago glacier, and its crystal clear waters allow you to view the cut mouth bass and other fish that make it their home.
If you find yourself in the northern California-western Oregon region, consider making a day of it hiking the Boundary Trail. It's challenging enough to be fun, but do-able for both you and your pup!
This narrow trail sometimes seems to disappear in the overgrowth of brush that followed a recent wildfire in the area. Keep an eye ahead on the trail rather than right in front of you to more easily see where the path is going. Some sections are rocky and steep, so good hiking shoes are a must.