Explore the most popular camping trails in Gallatin 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.

Love this trail - the lake is beautiful, the hike up is awesome, with wild berries along the way, streams crossing. In summer, when it's warmed up, the lake is the best place to jump in & swim across for a "wilderness challenge"! One of the best in the area for sure!!

Nice hike. Trail got a little slippery because of snowmelt and a light rain.

Loved the trail but be prepared for stepping over rocks the whole way!

I love hiking Baldy! Summitted on May 16th. A lot of snow before the final ascent, but easy to get around or follow other people's tracks.

Kept hiking after the M and made it up to this Summit. Beautiful views, quite a bit of snow at the top during this time.

hiking
26 days ago

This was one of my favorite hikes before the fire. It was lush with meadows and mountains with a lot of cover and not to steep for older kids (except at the end near the falls), but after the fire, it is much more exposed. Still a beautiful hike but I would do it in the spring, fall or an overcast day and probably without the younger kids.

Beautiful hike, we went beginning of April so there was still a lot of snow and trails were icy in spots. I can’t imagine how beautiful it is in the summer!

Pretty great hike! My 9 year old daughter hiked this trail with me. I was surprised considering the grade and 7.1 mile out and back! This is a beautiful hike with a pretty little lake at the top! Bring bear spray. Wear layers and have a water pack if you’re going in the warm weather and of course, snacks. You’ll want to hang out at the top for a while and enjoy the view! Wild flowers galore. Very pretty hike!

Pretty hike up to Lava Lake. The route is a nice, casual incline throughout the entirety.

1 month ago

Steady, moderate-to-severe incline all the way to the top! Great views once you reach the ridgeline. Crampons or piercing snowshoes are required to summit Baldy this time of year (March). Good luck!

2 months ago

It is eight miles! Not 7.5 lol. It was just absolutely breathe taking. We went in October so we didn't have as many access to the lake as we wanted.

Incredible trail... backpacked it May 2017...plenty of wildlife, spectacular views, and challenging climbs... highly recommend this Trail.

2 months ago

Beautiful area, we went to the area to summit Crazy Peak and camp near the lake!

Made this hike on a weekday in August 2000 (5 stars) and then again on a weekend in 2016 (4 stars). I would not do it again on a weekend due to the heavy trail use.
The moderate hike is very tolerable due to the shade. My legs grew more tired from the descent than the climb.
If you like wildlife, golden mantled ground squirrels and american pika are around when it's quiet. It was a lot of fun to watch them. The lake is gorgeous with the talus slopes and peaks in the distance.

hiking
3 months ago

Burnt out forest trail with no shade until close to Passage Falls. The wind whistles over the pass and its distant sound is a bit otherworldly, was neat! My 7 year old son was able to hike this with me and tolerated it well, with just one rest on the way in for nourishment and to cool down (August 2016). Only one spot on the descent to the falls where I was concerned about my son being able to navigate the path, but he was fine with a hand to keep him balanced. The waterfall at the end was really very nice, a good day hike. Suggest taking a small picnic to pack in and out. There were quite a few people trekking in on this particular Friday. Maybe try midweek and early morning to maximize your experience.

backpacking
3 months ago

We left "The Dead Indian Creek Trail", and stayed overnight in Cooke City. We then started on the Cooke City side. Parking was plenty. There is zero parking cost, part they are not responsible for any damage or theft to your vehicle. There is a picnic area here, along with a toilet. Beautiful waterfall, and neat history if you just wanted to see a roadside stop. We backpacked to Rock Island lake. Our campground was gorgeous, along with the view. It was not a bad jaunt, if you are looking for a quick place for experience. We had a huge moose walk passed our hammocks at about 3:00 a.m. The stomps were amazing, on top of waking up scared as hell knowing there was that huge animal passing by. We woke up to see him still in the lake splashing. Simply Amazing. I would love to come back and actually do the trail itself. We were told we were making a mistake going this time of year because mosquitos just hatched. THEY WERE NOT LYING. Being from Minnesota, we thought we were used to them. They were unbelievable, although with the proper clothing, never really were bitten. We were also told we would hit a lot of snow....we had a few patches but nothing to really even walk on.

2017 BRR Finisher

Amazing Views

If going in the winter time you will want some sort of micro spikes or yak traks. Very packed trail that can be basically a solid sheet of ice. Beautiful to see in the winter.

on Spanish Peaks

backpacking
6 months ago

Hike is easy for the first 3-4 miles and quite strenuous for the remaining few. Rocky, steep sections prove difficult, but the high mountain terrain, striking views, and fly fishing make the trip more than worth it.

We did this trail years ago absolutely beautiful! Saw a mother moose and her calf

Absolutely beautiful hike, giant boulders moss covered trees! Hot during the day, but absolutely freezing at night, especially the camping sites near the water. Great camp spot!

Beautiful hike. Easy pace with a nice mix of flat and climb. Snow on last 20 minutes of climb made it very challenging. Trail was busy when I started at noon so compacted snow was very slippery especially on the decent. Personally witnessed two slips/falls.

backpacking
7 months ago

Bring bear spray! Had a grizzly bear encounter at 1am on the morning of 10/17 (Bear circled our tent for an hour and a half). Hike up isn't bad, it's steep and the back half was frozen with snow. Once at the top the view of the lake is beautiful. Coming back down the trail the steeper sections of the the trail that are iced were hard to get down. All in all a nice trail but bring bear spray as the grizzly there is massive and isn't afraid to get up close and personal.

backpacking
7 months ago

Large grizzly entered campsite late at night, bring bear spray. If camping, be careful about where you cook. Last 1/3 of the trail was iced over and very slippery in the morning. Beautiful scenery at the lake, definitely worth the hike.

backpacking
7 months ago

Lake is frozen over as of 10/15/17. Drive up wasn't bad but there are no signs until the top and might need 4wd in certain spots.

backpacking
7 months ago

Lake is frozen over as of 10/15/17. Road up to lake is nice however you need 4wd in some spots and there are no signs until you're right at the spot to park at the top of the mountain.

Very rocky approach, great tent spots on the right side of the lake before the peninsula. No campfires allowed within half mile of the lake. No accumulated snow at the lake yet (9/30/17)

The hike was definitely harder than I thought it would be. I consider myself fairly in shape but was dripping sweat most the way up. Was relieved to find some snow toward the top to help cool me off..finally got to the lake and it was absolutely beautiful. Very well worth the hike!!!

hiking
8 months ago

We hiked just the first bit of this trail on Sept 16, 2017 primarily to see the waterfalls. The last 2 miles of road to the campground were very rough. The weather changed from sun to cold wind and light rain and back to sun in just a couple of hours, but we enjoyed the short hike and the waterfall is pretty and easy to access. There is a lot of rocky area around to get different views of the falls. Although it looked like great bear habitat, we did not see any animals except a few intrepid chipmunks. The views of the Crazies from the canyon road and all the way to the campground were spectacular, especially with the frosting of snow.

The reviews were accurate for this one, "Moderate" and "Worth it." We hiked 8 miles before doing this hike (not recommended before this specific trail) so it was fairly hard but I think we would have been okay otherwise. The stream that runs along near the trail is pretty and the grade gets a little tricky. Most of the incline is near the end though. Then you see this gorgeous lake!

(With the current wildfires, you may want to check air quality depending on how clear of a view you want up there.)

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