Lady of the Lake- Beartooth Mountains
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.
When hiking around Cooke City, be sure to bring plenty of bug spray. This section of the Beartooths is famous for it’s large mosquito population. Besides the mosquitoes, this trail also has plenty of other wildlife to see. Keep an eye out for deer, and even bears along this trail. Cooke City is notorious for Grizzly Bear populations, encounters, and human fatalities. With this sobering thought in mind, be sure to be properly prepared in bear country.
Leaving the trailhead, the trail starts with a creek crossing. There is a bridge provided by the Forest Service, and a rather nice one at that. Once you cross Fisher Creek, the trail leads you by a small cabin that is slowly being reclaimed by the forest. After the cabin, the trail leads into the forest, and the trail is nicely maintained. A third of a mile from the lake, you enter the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness. At a total of 1.5 miles (the Forest Service states 1 mile, but that is measured at the end of a jeep road), Lady of the Lake appears.
The trail continues around the lake, and further up the drainage. There are limited campsites at Lady of the Lake, but plenty of large meadows in the area. If you do plan on camping, make sure to practice zero impact camping, especially taking precautions against bears. If you have the time, hike up to nearby Companion Lake, or Lower Aero Lake. On the way back towards the trailhead, feel free to stray from the trail a bit- you might catch a glimpse of abandoned mining equipment, or tailings.
Pictures from Lady of the Lake, and the Trail
Directions to the Trailhead
From Cooke City, drive 2 miles towards Red Lodge, taking a left on Goose Lake Road. The gravel road is accessible to all vehicles at this point, but the washboards can be quite nasty. Drive slow, and take your time driving up to the trailhead. If you see Coulter Campground, you’ve gone about a quarter mile too far. Follow this road for another 2 miles, and then turn into the unmarked trailhead at the right. There is a camp site setup here (a great spot to quickly camp, if you’re driving at night).