Aldous and Hancock Lakes
5.1 miles (out and back)
Easy to moderate
Caribou-Targhee National Forest
Aldous and Hancock Lakes is a 5.1 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Spencer, Idaho that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until November. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.
The trail to Aldous and Hancock lakes is short and easy. It’s a great first-time backpacking trip for kids and beginners. It gives first-timers a fun destination and, if they like fishing, a fun activity to do. The hike to Aldous Lake is 1.3 miles along a piece of the Continental Divide Trail. The lake seems to have warmed up some and is overgrown with water plants along much of its edges. There is a use trail that circles the lake and takes visitors to a few campsites — some with picnic tables and bear boxes. We continued another mile up the trail to Hancock Lake. This trail climbs steeply in a few places, but because it’s short, it’s definitely doable for most novice hikers. Hancock Lake sits in a small basin surrounded by trees. This time of year, the mosquitoes are mostly gone and the flies and hoppers are out. I swatted a fly and tossed it in the water to watch the trout come up and eat it. The water is clear enough that you can watch the fish patrol along the shore. On the hike up we saw only a few people during the late morning. On the hike back we saw a few dozen. Beyond Hancock Lake, the trail heads west and north along the Continental Divide. Much of this trail is remote and rugged. Near the start of the Aldous and Hancock trails there is a junction leading to the southern and east route of the Continental Divide Trail. This route leads east into Yellowstone National Park. B