Pine Creek Lake

MODERATE 27 reviews

Pine Creek Lake is a 11.5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Livingston, MT that offers scenic views and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and camping and is accessible from July until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

11.5 miles 4118 feet Out & Back

dog friendly

camping

hiking

lake

views

rocky

camping
21 days ago

3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

One of my favorite hikes to date. It's a doozy and as others have said, the mileage in the description is inaccurate. Definitely recommend this hike for the stunning views!

hiking
3 months ago

I thinks it's probably 10 miles up and down going up 4000 ft. A good hike and a perfect day of glacial lakes and a descent to paradise valley.

hiking
3 months ago

The 5.5 mile, 3,400 vertical-foot approach to the lake is filled with sweeping valley views and a series of waterfalls and burn areas. The reward for the long and strenuous hike is one of the most stunning landscapes in Absarokas. Get more details and photos here: www.montanatrailbriefs.com/hikes/pine-creek-lake

4 months ago

The description of the distance is inaccurate. We were at 5.6 miles from parking lot to Lake. Great day hike!

hiking
4 months ago

4 months ago

trail was well maintained. we brought our dog the first day and didn't make it to the lake, too many dogs off leash and some parts of the trail were too narrow for our pointer.

Returned the next day left the parking area at 1705 make it to the lake at 1915. Sunset was at 2111 and we make it to the car at 2115. Trail is a hard moderate in our opinion. 4.1 miles I don't think is accurate. we clocked just over 5 each way. Don't give up the lake is awesome fed by sister waterfalls.

hiking
4 months ago

Gorgeous hike, it's NOT easy, OR moderate. Beginner hikers will struggle. Lots of switchbacks. Once you hit the first waterfall, its ALL uphill from there. Took us 3.5 hours to get to the top. Experienced some snow, rain, then descended at 75 degrees and sunny.

hiking
5 months ago

We loved this trail and wished we'd brought our tent when we saw the beautiful campsite at the top! As other reviewers have said, the trail after the waterfall is steep, but with well-built switchbacks.

hiking
5 months ago

camping
5 months ago

This trail is beautiful but the moderate rating is a bit of an understatement. Especially when you hike up with overnight packs. The incline is pretty steep and the top third of the trail consists of mostly rocky switchbacks. There were a lot of people who were using this as a day hike but it gets much harder with overnight gear. Give yourself some extra time if you have some extra weight.

The trail is currently mostly clear. There was only one part of the trail that was under snow and it was between Jewel Lake and Pine Creek Lake.

Pine Creek is still fairly high so there are a couple times where you need to cross the water carefully. People with trekking poles or hiking sticks seemed to have an easier time. Might want to bring extra socks since we saw a few people drop in the water.

All in all, this is a beautiful hike and the views at the top are amazing. Well worth the moderate/strenuous hike. We camped at Jewel Lake and were alone. There were about five groups at Pine Creek Lake and the alpine tarn and it didn't look like there were many more spots available.

5 months ago

5 months ago

hiking
5 months ago

Amazing!! So glad we went, I didn't fish but people were catching some huge fish (for a high half frozen lake)

hiking
5 months ago

5 months ago

An epic witness of Gods wilderness water run. Walking this trail after the massive fire was a vivid display of reincarnation.

Don't be fooled. You will arrive at the first large pond of water after a steep 3 hour climb and think you arrived. Look up. When you see 300 ft plus falls that are sisters you know more is there. Elevate. The trail is hard to find because it isn't for the faint of heart. As you ascend the northern side you arrive to a tundra like 2nd lake. Just a little further. Bam! The most epic lake in all the world.

The secret is to hang and not hussle down. Bring a rod, bible, or just your pride that you made it.

5 months ago

There is still some snow at the top by the lake. Absolutely stunning trail. The creek to get across is a little high at the moment!

hiking
10 months ago

I did it 15 years ago (mid fifties) and I agree with Katie the first mile is easy, the rest is not! I agree with everything else she said.

camping
1 year ago

Like another reviewer has said, this trail should not be rated as easy. An easy hike is something my mom could do. My mom would have a heart attack and die if she tried this hike. That said, the first mile is a good example of what I'd consider to be an easy hike, after that there are no downhill sections and relatively few flats. The trail gains 3,400 feet in just around 4 miles. You'll pass lots of people, some just going to the first falls and some going all the way to the lake. Nearly everyone you pass says the lake is worth the hike and they aren't lying, but the entire journey is absolutely breathtaking. The burned areas are beautiful with the black of the trees contrasting with the lush greens of new growth. There are several waterfalls on the way to the top and the higher you go, the better the views. About a mile from the top you'll pass trail on the right leading to a small pool at the base of a large falls. Hiking onward you'll reach jewel lake, and just above that is pine creek lake. They are both surrounded by jagged 10,000 foot peaks that make this area truly spectacular. Add me to the list of people who say the (not easy) hike is worth it.