Explore the most popular trail running 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.

Great hike for the dog because water crosses the trail every couple of miles. The trail sign said 5 miles to falls and I'm inclined to believe it. Had to choose workout over enjoying the views because of the rocky nature of the trail and time constraints. Can't believe I've put this trail off. Much longer and challenging than the overlook trail, but much more enjoyable and satisfying.

Beautiful hike and nice trail. Does get a little rocky so you’ll need to watch your step. Breathe taking views.

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

hiking
3 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.

Great hike, beautiful waterfalls, towering scenery overhead. A lot of bang for the buck here (and by buck I mean amount of hiking effort). The Bitterroots are extremely underrated as a hiking range.

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.

Great hike, particularly for a first day after flying in from New York. Not too strenuous, but still a good workout. Went all the way to the waterfalls, with marvellous views all along the way (and some tasty huckleberries to be found).

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.

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.

AMAZING views- I can’t imagine any better! The view from the bench was great, but I agree if you’re a little more brave go to the trail on the other side of the rock wall it will take your breath away! GORGEOUS!!!

Steep approach but short - put your head down with your backpack and in no time you will be in a wonderful place. We love bringing our dogs with us. It is also possible to climb Trapper Peak from here by heading mostly west from the lake to meet the final ridge approach to Trapper. It is especially beautiful here once the colors turn in autumn.

One of the best views of all time!

Beautiful hike to the waterfall. Easy hike, lots of rocks and muddy sections. A few bugs in dense brush areas. Waterfall and creek are running fast! Loved it!

The road to get up there is well maintained to the point I was able to take my car up there with no trouble! Beautiful drive up! The trail is not through the gate, but is instead the skinny trail from the parking lot. Gorgeous hike up and not a bad climb due to the switchbacks, beautiful view once you reach the top and if you feel like going higher than the bench follow the trail up to a rock ledge and the view is even more stunning!

backpacking
22 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!

Beautiful trail. Well worth the hike. I would consider the trail easy to moderate. Park near the gate but go up the skinner trail. We started hiking the gate way but trail was not maintained and lots of dead forest on that side.

Great hike. Rained the entire time but trail was a in good shape. No visibility but still pretty spectacular. I can only imagine what it would be on a clear day.

Spectacular views for such a short & easy hike. Completed in under 1.5 hours round trip on the evening of 6/15/18. Snow is all gone, although it did hail during my ascent. Counted 22 not steep switchbacks and one longer stretch at the very end.

Make sure to use directions to bear creek OVERLOOK trail, different from bear creek trailhead. Looong & precarious dirt road up to the trailhead, not for the faint of heart. When you get to the end of the dirt road, there is a gate stopping further access. Do not follow the road past the gate, take the trail up into the forest on your left. There are two trails, one straight up and one slightly to the south that switches back and forth the whole way up. These two trails cross each other frequently, but the switchback way is nice and easy to follow. Enjoy the incredible views!!

Didn't make it to the waterfall, but pretty views of river, cliffs, and wildflowers.

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!

Very easy trail, recommend hiking well past the falls, where you enter into denser forest.
There are plenty of boulders, for climbing, on either side of the trails to up the ante of the beautiful, but effortless trail.

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

Breathtaking views! Hike over the boulders to get to the waterfall well worth it. Lots of hikers for a Tuesday. So many awe factors!!

Great kid & dog friendly hike. A couple water spots to dodge but nothing crazy. You can see a waterfall about 3 miles in. The regular trail was washed out but you can hike some boulders to keep going. That was a little too advanced for our 6 yo so we turned around at that point. Will definitely do it again.

This trail is wonderful, don't listen to the reviewer who claims there isn't much wow factor. The views are gorgeous. The trail is actually pretty easy, if you don't mind rocks and the distance to the falls. There was a lot of water on the trail in places when we went a week ago but you could avoid getting wet fairly easily. l
Lots of wildflowers. Not too many other hikers. This is one of my favorites of the Bitteroot hikes.

on Bear Creek Overlook Trail

1 month ago

Amazing hike, beautiful view would be really simple without snow. Still quite a bit of snow be prepared to step and fall in if you don’t have snow shoes also be prepared to have no trail to follow.

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