Wanless Lake is a 18 mile out and back trail located near Trout Creek, Montana and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is best used from July until September.
It was a very long and tough hike. You will want to have at least 4 liters of water with you. This is a dry trail, that has the heat bouncing off of the rocks you are hiking up. So be prepared with lots of water, and make sure you start off well hydrated! The first part is approximately 5 miles straight up of switch backs. Once you get to the top of the ridge, it's absolutely breathtaking! Feels like you are on top of the world! Followed by four miles of switch backs down to Wanless lake. There is an upper lake about a mile down from the ridge, with camping spots. This is an extremely difficult trail. You will want to be in great shape for this one! Believe me! This trail will play with your mind... Be warned! You will think you are almost there, and you're nowhere close. This happens the whole hike! This hike definitely feels like it is wat more than 9 miles to Wanless lake. But, it really is only 9. I promise. And it's totally worth it!
The first 4.5 miles is an intense 3300 ft very climb that's pretty deceiving u keep seeing a ridge u think ull come out on but never do old recommend going in spring seeing as when I went it was a dry hike other then the lakes and a creek at the bottom when u finally reach the top u go through a small pass with a pretty steep climb down to the lakes once in the basin its beautiful with at least 7 lakes for those that put fourth the effort for the initial climb its well worth getting to the lakes in total it took us about 14 hours to hike but trust me u want to do this as a backpacking trip with as much effort as the first climb in overall pretty good hike
Very good backpacking trip. Long arduous hike though... you will want to be in shape for this one. Six miles of up, three miles of down. You can actually camp in the basin before the Cabinet Wilderness boundary and also you can stay at Upper Wanless Lake. There are other small lakes in the area and from Wanless Lake you can look down into Buck Lake. The headwall at Wanless Lake is very impressive ( I would guess it climbs nearly 1500 feet). Pack your bug spray or go in early October, however it can snow that time of year there. Also,,,this is grizzly bear country. Bring bear spray and be smart with your food and where you cook. There are also elk, moose, mule deer, whitetail deer and various other critters in the area. One of the best backpacking trips I have ever been on.