Explore the most popular lake 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.

Although the beginning of the hike is just another "up the canyon" hike, the real fun (and work!) starts about 3.5 miles in where you suddenly start a quite steep, exhilerating ascent (about 1,500 ft within about a mile), followed by a slight descent down to the drop-dead-gorgeous Canyon Lake. Although you hear Canyon Creek for most of the way, you don't actually get to see it, except at 0.5, 1, 2,, 3.5, and (at the lake) 5 miles in. Most of way is actually in shade. The trail seems to have been rerouted since the recording of the website track, since there are periodic deviations from this track, which may account for the fact that the round trip is closer to 10 miles than the 8.4 miles mentioned in the description.

hiking
2 days ago

Keep going, it's beautiful all the way... don't rob yourself by cutting it short. Next trip we're making the connection from Bass Lake to Kootenai and heading back via Kootenai Creek!

Great trail lots of beautiful sights. Wish it was closer to the creek

Such a beautiful hike, like others have said go in the morning on a cooler day. The heat can make it a pretty difficult hike. The directions it gave us on here were very wrong for finding the trailhead. Overall a beautiful hike will definitely do it again. .

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

Well-maintained trail. Only a bit of water on the trail in some spots. The lake is beautiful! We took the spur to Kidney Lake, which requires a semi-difficult river crossing and a steeper incline. But worth it.

hiking
6 days ago

Great trail with a huge payoff. A little route-finding and overgrown in places, but not bad. Canyon Lake is gorgeous! And perfect for a brisk dip. Recommend.

6 days ago

definitely a great hike with PHENOMENAL views. the road up is a white knuckle adventure so be careful. the directions were not accurate so check with other web sites for the correct route. short hike to the lake with incredible scenery.

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

hiking
8 days 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.

hiking
11 days ago

The destination has awesome views! The trail is a bit overgrown and could use some cleaning up and marking. Definitely need to pay close attention to stay on the trail.
•Bring sturdy hiking boots (LOTS of rocks)
•Bring lots of mosquito repellent (they were the worst I’d ever experienced)
•Bring GPS capable device
We had a very tough hike starting out around 2:30 in the afternoon in high 80’s. If hiking in the summer, early in the day would be a better idea.
Over all a great, physically challenging hike. I’d do it again under more favorable conditions.

Safe trekking!!

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.

This trail was often covered in water and had to cross the creek a few times, no bridge. So be prepared to get your feet wet and muddy, and bring bug spray, Mosquitoes and horseflies. The hike description notes 7.3 miles and we walked 4 miles and turned around before we hit the summit which takes you down to the lake. It would also be good to name the lake in the hike description. After doing the hike and looking at a topo map it must be burnt fork lake. Also on the topo map there is another lake called Gleason lake, but didn’t see a trail to that one. The trail was a bit overgrown in one part but still easy to follow. We ran into other hikers that noted that the lake was about 5.5 miles in so this would be an 11 mile hike NOT 7.3 miles. A bonus is a nice rock cliff and waterfall.

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.

This track file on the map does not show the path all the way to Bass Lake. It only shows to the big waterfall before Bass Lake. Bass Lake is about 10 miles one way so 20 miles both ways Out and back.

19 days ago

Easy because it’s short ... steep and challenging for the young, seniors, and semi in shape types of people ... take your walking sticks and camera ... views are great!

backpacking
27 days ago

Great Trail. Took my 5 year old son with one of his big brothers. My 5 year old had no problems making it to the lake.

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

hiking
1 month ago

Enjoyed revisiting this trail and introducing it to a friend. we traversed close to two miles to enjoy the lower falls. I am on O2 (4L), but made it!
The creek was high, so I couldn't let the kids slide down the rocks into the swim pools. Our puppy enjoyed it too!

hiking
1 month ago

There is a fair amount of water running on the trail, but it’s not impassible. Including my group, we saw 17 people hiking to the lake today.

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!

backpacking
1 month ago

Beautiful hike we camped for the night! Trail was dry almost all way but right before you get to the reservoir the creek was overflowing... only about 8 inches deep if that but there were logs and walking sticks to get over it though... pics have been posted too

backpacking
1 month ago

Gnar

backpacking
1 month ago

A spectacular hike that affords plenty of attractions if you are willing to work for them a little. You follow the Creek for the first few miles which culminates in a breathtaking waterfall. Ran into three different washouts of various length, some more treacherous than others, but all doable. This hike earns every bit of it’s hard rating.

It's actually 6.7 miles in and out, a couple of creek crossings but nothing hard, snow at the end but the lake is gorgeous.... so worth it

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

The hike up currently has a bunch of runoff on the trail for the first 3 miles or so. The last mile of the hike climbs completely through snow. The lake was definitely well worth the hike and looks absolutely terrific.

backpacking
1 month ago

Great experience for my first time overnight backpacking. Nice wide trail most of the way, we had to wade across some over flow (below knee deep) just before reaching the reservoir . The reservoir has very clear water and beautiful surrounding views. Limited camping spots but we had a grand time.

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