Montana Hiking Trails

Crow Lake- Beartooth Mountains

Crow Lake

Crow Lake

There are few places that truly take your breath away; few places that absolutely leave you unable to describe their awesome beauty. Crow Lake, located at the mouth of a glacier carved cirque, is certainly one of those places. If the blue-green waters, dense lodgepole forests, and jagged granite spires of the East Rosebud Plateau don’t take your breath away, the hike there certainly will. The 6 miles of trail to Crow Lake climb more than 2,700 feet, most of which is in the first few miles.

Although this trail presents a few difficulties, finding the trailhead is not one of them. Start off by entering the East Rosebud campground, and drive all the way to the northwestern corner (far back) of the campground, parking in the well marked trailhead parking lot. You can easily tell that this trail is going to be steep at this point- even the trailhead itself is on a hill! Continue reading “Crow Lake- Beartooth Mountains” »

25 Jan 2015

Sylvan Lake- Beartooth Mountains

Sylvan Lake

Sylvan Lake

Shimmering beneath Sylvan Lake lies the prize most anglers and hikers seek- the California Golden Trout. First stocked in 1938, the golden trout at Sylvan Lake are well known in Montana for their genetic purity. Sylvan Lake’s golden population is so pure that the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks regularly uses the eggs laid by goldens at Sylvan Lake for stocking other lakes in Montana. If you seek the purest golden trout in the Beartooths, you should look no further than Sylvan Lake.

Although this trail presents a few difficulties, finding the trailhead is not one of them. Start off by entering the East Rosebud campground, and drive all the way to the northwestern corner (far back) of the campground, parking in the well marked trailhead parking lot. You can easily tell that this trail is going to be steep at this point- even the trailhead itself is on a hill! Continue reading “Sylvan Lake- Beartooth Mountains” »

24 Jan 2015

West Boulder Meadows- Absaroka Range

West Boulder Meadows- Absaroka Range

Boulder Meadows

Boulder Meadows

Located south of Big Timber, the north end of the Absaroka Range is best described as a typical western mountain range.  Instead of the numerous lakes, and tall, jagged peaks of the Beartooth Mountains; the northern end of the Absaroka Range’s peaks are much lower in elevation, and few lakes are present.  The lakes that have formed in this part of the Absaroka Range are usually high elevation lakes, and usually involve quite the hike to reach.  For these reasons, most anglers and hikers in the Absaroka Range tend to hike and fish near streams and rivers.  A popular destination in all seasons, the West Boulder Meadows is an excellent choice for hiking, snowshoeing, wildlife photography, climbing, or fishing- whatever suits your fancy.
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22 Jun 2014

Blackmore Lake- Gallatin Range

Blackmore Lake

Blackmore Lake, as seen from the North side of the lake.

Blackmore Lake, as seen from the North side of the lake.

Blackmore lake is an easy, albeit mostly uphill, hike located near scenic Bozeman, Montana.  Located just 30 minutes outside of town, Blackmore Lake is a beautiful lake back dropped by a jagged peak.  Although Blackmore Lake has little to offer fishermen, it does offer the opportunity to observe wildlife, and rockhound.

Continue reading “Blackmore Lake- Gallatin Range” »

18 Jun 2014

Lady of the Lake- Beartooth Mountains

Lady of the Lake

Lady  of the Lake

Lady of the Lake

An easy day hike in the Beartooth Mountains, Lady of the Lake is a great hike for small children or beginners.  The trail climbs very little elevation (the high point in the trail is only a few hundred feet above the trailhead), and the lake rests at nearly the same altitude as the trailhead.  Despite the short length, this trail has a couple of small creek crossings, so make sure that you are wearing a good pair of boots.

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07 Feb 2014

Woodbine Falls- Beartooth Mountains

Woodbine Falls- Beartooth Mountains

Woodbine Falls

Woodbine Falls

Woodbine Falls is a fun hike for everyone!  It’s short length, low elevation gain, and well engineered trail all help to make this one of the most popular day hikes for small kids, elderly, and beginner hikers.  At .8 miles one way (1.6 miles out and back) and an elevation gain of only a couple hundred feet, it’s easy to see why this hike is so popular.  This hike is also rare in that it is relatively low (5,300 feet), so it is clear of snow early in the year.  Because of this, you can usually enjoy this trail from May until November.

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27 Jan 2014

Sioux Charley Lake- Beartooth Mountains

Sioux Charley Lake

Siox Charlie Lake

Sioux Charley Lake

If you’re looking for a nice lake to hike with the family to, it’s hard to beat Sioux Charley Lake.  Gaining a little under 600 feet over the course of three miles, the trail is relatively flat, and easy for children to hike.  Add in the low elevation (Sioux Charlie Lake is at 5,651 feet), and it’s easy to see why this lake is a popular early season hike. Continue reading “Sioux Charley Lake- Beartooth Mountains” »

13 Jan 2014

Rainbow Lake- Beartooth Mountains

Rainbow Lake

Rainbow Lake

Rainbow Lake is the third lake along The Beaten Path, a 26 mile hike through the heart of the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness. At seven miles from the trailhead (technically about eight miles), the lake is a good day hike for strong hikers, or a good day trip for moderate hikers camped at Elk Lake. The lake is absolutely stunning- a jewel nestled in the mountains, fed by a gorgeous waterfall.  The fishing here is also excellent, with an abundant amount of Cutthroat and Rainbow Trout. Rainbow Lake- Beartooth Mountains

11 Jan 2014

Lost Lake- Beartooth Mountains

Lost Lake- Beartooth Mountains

Lost Lake

Lost Lake

The Lake Fork of Rock Creek offers beautiful waterfalls, gorgeous scenery, abundant wildlife, and pristine mountain lakes.  Lost Lake is no exception to this, and is the first lake along the Lake Fork of Rock Creek that I recommend exploring.  Lost Lake is an excellent day hike, which offers a little of something for everyone.  Although the hike is a little long for a day hike, the trail is rather flat (gaining 1,300 feet in 5 miles), and it is easy to make very good time on this trail.

Starting at the large trailhead parking lot (it’s hard to fill this lot), the trail winds it’s way through mature stands of Lodgepole Pine and Aspen trees.  The trail itself is professionally built, and that makes a huge difference in speed on this trail.  The packed dirt, rocks, and wooden beams all add to the structure of this trail, and make this trail such a pleasure to hike.  Make sure to keep a sharp eye out though, this trail is full of surprises! Continue reading “Lost Lake- Beartooth Mountains” »

07 Jan 2014

Island Lake- Beartooth Mountains

Island Lake

Island Lake

Island Lake


Island Lake offers the ability to sit back and relax, on one of the busiest trails in the Beartooths. Although many hikers each year start this trail, very few hikers make it as far down the trail as Island Lake. The lake itself is beautiful- a description used commonly in the Beartooth Mountains.
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03 Jan 2014

Rimrock Lake- Beartooth Mountains

Rimrock Lake

Rimrock Lake

Rimrock Lake is the second lake along The Beaten Path, a 26 mile hike through the heart of the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness. At six miles from the trailhead, the lake is a good day hike for moderate hikers, or a good day trip for beginner hikers camped at Elk Lake. The lake itself is gorgeous, with a waterfall at the inlet, and a sturdy bridge at the outlet. Continue reading “Rimrock Lake- Beartooth Mountains” »

03 Jan 2014

Elk Lake- Beartooth Mountains

Elk Lake

Elk Lake

Rising from the sleepy vacation homes in Alpine, Montana, the trail to Elk Lake is a beautiful hike that is sure to impress all.  Surrounded by jagged peaks and rough canyon walls, the area is breathtaking to say the least.  Starting at the trailhead, the trail follows the East Rosebud Creek for three miles.  During this hike, there are no large hills to cross, no tiresome switchbacks, and the trail is kept in immaculate condition.  As expected on any easy day hike, the traffic on the trail is high, particularly in Summer.  In the Winter, however, you can easily have the valley to yourself. Continue reading “Elk Lake- Beartooth Mountains” »

31 Dec 2013

Mystic Lake- Beartooth Mountains

Mystic Lake

Mystic Lake- Beartooth Mountains

Mystic Lake- Beartooth Mountains

Nowhere else in the Beartooths offers the unique opportunity to see a hydroelectric dam in action, while at the same time enjoying the surrounding wilderness.  Although the lake itself is not within the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, most of the trail and surrounding area is.  That won’t stop you from enjoying Mystic Lake, the power company that controls the dam has had very little impact to the lake itself.  Other than the dam, and a small house by the dam, the lake is in the same condition that Mother Nature left it (albeit a little bigger). Continue reading “Mystic Lake- Beartooth Mountains” »

31 Dec 2013