Explore the most popular camping trails in Bitterroot National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Gorgeous hike, all the fall colors were amazing! There are definitely some steep areas, but well worth it. We lost the trail a couple of times but back tracked and we back on course quickly. I’m going to hike this trail again in the spring!

trail running
21 days ago

Easy and very well maintained. Perfect for trail running.

This is a great hike. The trails are well kept and maintained. The first couple miles are steep as are the last couple miles. There were 5 of us on this hike and we all measured 7.2 to 7.6 miles back to the lake. My watch said right at 15 miles round trip. When the ended. We also caught about 8 fish in the lake over. 30 min period.

We hiked in to Peterson Lake as a day hike. There were great views. It was sad to see much of the area had been burned out. The hike to Peterson lake was 7.2 miles one way. The round trip was 14.4 Please note this was longer than it was shown in the app. There are 3 more beautiful lakes further up the trail. We didn't go further than Peterson on this outing.

Beautiful views the entire way! The trail is well maintained the first two miles. Then it crossed a small creek and diverges. Don't take the more obviously trail going down to the lake (unless you're going to the lake). The ridge trail from here is hard to keep, a lot of burn area and fallen trees, with rocks later on. But it's easy enough to stay on the ridge, which is were the trail should be. Worth it!

Beautiful trail. In and out views between the trees the whole way! The trees are cleared from the trail now and the burned areas are neat to walk through (pretty open view) also a lot of dense growth in between the burned areas! After mile 1-1.5 it’s smooth sailing as far as up hill hiking. We enjoyed it a lot! It pretty much right at 5 miles to get to the lake. So 10 miles round trip if you reach lake P!

This is another misleading AllTrails intro. It says 6.6 miles out and back, but has a photo of the reservoir... if you want to go part way up and turn back I guess it could be 6.6 miles... but if you want to go all the way up to the reservoir, here’s what we found:
The dam is about 9 miles up, and the last mile is tough. We nicknamed the last bit “the Hellish Steps to Pompeii” because after 8.5 miles, ~15” backcountry “stairs” are quite trying (if not for you, you have my praise!). Campsites are further. We found ours at 10.7 miles.
The reservoir is breathtaking. The water is just pristine.
TOO MANY PEOPLE. And I wouldn’t mind that: I WANT people to enjoy the wilderness! But honestly, the amount of dirty toilet paper we came across was despicable. Please, people, if you go backpacking, PLEASE LEARN HOW TO PROPERLY POOP IN THE WOODS.
Thank you.

This is a beautiful hike. The creek is accessible in many spots. The trail is easy to moderate with a lot of up and down. There’s both shaded areas as well as sun. This is at the top of my list of favorites in the Bitterroot.

hiking
2 months ago

Fun hike. Did in 2 hours 40 mins. We kept a good pace. Now back to Hamilton for a beer.

Easy, gorgeous hike! Did the entire loop last year. Currently camped at Three Frogs by the start of the trail. Going again Saturday morning.

This is a fantastic trail that I will definitely return to. I agree with the reviews that this is a great family hike, but want to add one little disclaimer. I was a little nervous in a few parts with my recently-turned 5 year old son, and I was glad my wife and I had our two year old strapped to our back. The drop-off is steep in a few parts, and you could tumble for a long ways. Like I said, fantastic trail — but wanted to give a warning to those with really little hikers.

Gorgeous easy hike. Lots of shade. The end of this hike isn’t at a destination and it can be a bit confusing. You simply turn around at 3.3 miles and it seems so ridiculous. I am tempted to make a sign just so people know when the specified hike ends. Still a stunning hike.

Gorgeous trail and very easy. Beautiful to do almost anytime of the year. I went there in June and there was still some snow on the back end of the trail but overall very pleasant hike

Beautifully maintained hike with lots of variation in forest type. Bit of a stretch for the six year old, but we made it!

Some moderately tough sections in my opinion, but nothing above class 2. We had a really nice day and the payoff at the end was fantastic. If you've hiked this trail before, you may be pretty shocked how much damage was done from the 2017 fires. Some large sections of the upper trail were obliterated so I'm glad I had my GPS. I also made the mistake of drifting away from the ridge line a couple of times, so once you get to the ridge I'd recommend trying to stay as close as you can as you progress. The views at the peak are stunning, particularly to the south and west.

Awesome! Just Awesome! Hiked up to the north lake stayed the night and saw Wolves in the morning then hiked out.

Hiked it with my 16 year old son, nice little hike

hiking
3 months ago

Really pleasantly surprised by the waterfall near the middle of the loop. Great to start and end at a beach on a hot day.

Nice, scenic hike. The creek was running pretty good for mid July. We only went 1 mile up, but had our three young boys with us. Hope to come up again with my 11 year old so we can get further and maybe find a camping spot.

Beautiful! Nice views at the beginning with delicious huckleberrys. Varied surroundings and changes in elevation with lots of streams flowing across the trail and even down the trail itself. We walked across several logs to get across the shallow streams. The trail can be hard to find at times especially in the wet areas. The lake is stunning, but the real jem in my opinion is the waterfall that spills from the lake.

hiking
3 months ago

Walked this trail on the 4th with the kiddos and my elderly mother in law in a wheelchair. It was nice to have a paved trail for the first little bit so that grandma could enjoy a little of the beautiful outdoors. The kids hiked farther up the trail and everyone had an enjoyable time. Very easy with beautiful views of lake the whole way.

Made it a little over 5 miles in today. didn't hit snow until then. Lots of down trees. great otherwise!

hiking
4 months ago

This is such a fun place! Great for swimming towards the end of the hike! Curious...any particular time there are not many yellow jackets? I love this place so much but there were so so many yellow jackets and my daughter was stung twice on the trail. I want to go when they are not swarming :). Gorgeous place and easy trail. So much fun!

Amazing trail.
1. $5 fee so have cash or check.
2. On the east side of the lake the water has washed out the trail. You can bravely venture across if you're sure footed (not recommended for kiddos, elderly or dogs who aren't water aware)...downstream 12 feet -ish there is a log you can cross (also not recommended for those mentioned above).
We had an amazing time on this hike and the waterfall area is worth every footstep. Gorgeous!

My partner and I went about halfway, and it was absolutely gorgeous the whole way! Watch your feet, the trail can get narrow and rough. I've heard you can camp in there? Didn't try it.
Not sure how long it takes to get to the end of the trail, maybe one day we'll do it.
Definitely recommend for just about anyone, the trail isn't flat, pretty rugged, but I'm kinda fat and was able to hike it at a fairly quick pace haha

Beautiful hike with my dog. Quite a few people with children in the first mile or so but the further in you go the quieter it gets. Gorgeous views and right now the water is running high and fast which makes it even better. The trail is well maintained but on some of the descents it was easy to slip on the packed dirt. I didn't bring my poles with me this time but I will the next time I come. I only hiked 7 miles as I started later in the day but I will be coming back with my dog to hike the whole trail. Highly recommend this trail!

Easy to follow, mostly level, and dead gorgeous. Great way to ease in to the summer hiking season.

First hike of the season. I did the full loop and had a great time. The trail was a bit sloppy in places from the snowmelt but was otherwise easy to follow. Free parking if you go between Labor Day and Memorial Day. Including a break for lunch, it took me just over 3 hours.

Beautiful scenery! Snow the last 1.5 miles.

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