Elbow Lake is a 16 mile out and back trail located near Livingston, Montana and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is best used from July until September.
A little longer than the 8 miles according to the pedometer. we made it close to the lake but we figured we had missed it so after mile nine turn back, later to find out we were about a mile and a half away from making our goal. Either way one of the best hikes I've ever been on. we did 18 miles and had some of the best views you could get. We recommend soaking at Chico after this hike.
Incredible views! We planned on backpacking and staying the night at the lake, but we unknowingly went too early in the season (early June). The first part of the hike was great and beautiful. Once we got over the southern face and started heading down toward Elbow Creek the snow pack was too dense and we didn't bring snowshoes or gaters. After about a mile of trudging through the snow on the north face we turned around (probably around mile 6) and made camp at the very top of the southern face in a beautiful meadow with great views (see photos). You can't see it from the trail but there was a tiny brook in the meadow so we had water. Despite not making it to the lake it was a great hike. Can't wait to go again later in the season.
Wow what a place, probably best for climbers and fisherman. I thought that the hike in was pleasant, feasting on berries along the way, and hills never seemed too steep. It was kinda lame having to hike for a couple miles around someone's ranch but that's my only complaint.
Elbow Lake is up Mill Creek outside of iIvingston. It was one of the steepest trails we have ever ridden on, at least up by the lake. We walked the horses the last couple miles to the lake and walked them back down due to large slick rocks. It is a beautiful trail but it is not signed very well. The trail will split but there are no signs to guide you so we definitely needed a map. It would be a nice place to backpack to but it is strenuous.