Crater Lake is a 12 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Bigfork, Montana that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, and fishing and is best used from July until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
Crater Lake is 12 miles out and back on three different trails located near Bigfork, Montana in the Jewel Basin. The trails are easy to moderate, are primarily used for hiking and are accessible from July until October. Dogs on a leach are welcome. Start at the Camp Misery Trailhead on Trail 717. Follow it 1.5 miles to the Alpine 7 heading south. Stay on the #7 for about 5 mile, past Birch and Squaw Lakes, to Crater Lake.
The first 5 miles in was beautiful. The last mile to the lake is not well marked and the trail is overgrown. We didn't make it all the way to the shores of the lake, but we could see it.
We did stop at Birch Lake on our way in, lots of people fishing and we watched a few people catch some.
Great hike with awesome views. Please be considerate though and do not feed the mountain goats up there though as cute as they may be.
We did this hike at the beginning of July. This year (2014) it hasn't been a very warm summer so far. The trail was covered by snow almost the whole way once you hit Birch Lake. We did miles of side-hilling in the snow, which any hiker knows can be pretty rough! We may not have made it without ice cleats and trekking poles, there was about 5 feet of snow at most spots. I can't really speak to the trail because it was difficult to follow with the snow so we tried to just find the easiest way to go through the snow... The trail was pretty washed out in some of the spots where it could actually be seen due to the snow melt. We did run in to black flies on the way there (at Birch) so if you take your dog make sure to use pet safe bug repellent on them! The lake is incredibly beautiful and there's an awesome little island to sit and fish off of. We only got a few casts in then had to head back... It's a great trip!!!