Explore the most popular fishing 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.

This is a really nice hike to a very pretty lake. Go early.

This is a really nice hike to a very pretty lake. Go early.

fishing
1 month ago

Bring fly pole for Graylings, also if want can try bottom fishing and get some cutthroats. Very fun hike and fishing!

Really amazing trail! I hiked it solo on 9/16/18. I was afraid of bears but did have spray. Just like everyone has posted, it is a moderately rocky trail so watch your step, almost no flat portions but no exposed slabs or anything like like, worth the hike!!!! Note, the rocks were a bit slippery because it had rained the night before. Make sure to wear hiking shoes. The trail took me under 2 hours to summit and a bit over an hour to descend. I am from CT and am used to hiking steep trails in the White Mountains but I am not used to the elevation. Bring water, a snack, and take your time.

The lake is freezing but I recommend jumping in anyway.

hiking
1 month ago

Bring a fly rod for graylings.

hiking
1 month ago

I made it to the trailhead in a full-size sedan (Kia) without 4wd. The road is very rocky but I got there driving less than 5mph while using the entire road to maneuver around rocks and ditches. The trail to the lake is a pretty gradual climb, but the trail to the good lakes is very steep and poorly marked. It is worth the effort to get to them, but make sure that you pay attention to the trail you took.
This trail is pretty secluded so also make sure that you bring everything you may need in case of an emergency, namely a camera :)

Less busy trail. The portal creek road is challenging, best to have 4x4 or AWD with high clearance. Worth the drive and hike. Bring water, bear spray and your fly rod.

Busy trail. Best to head up early and on the weekday. Bring your fly rod, water and bear spray. Worth the rocky hike.

Loved this hike. I’m a beginner hiker so this was a bit difficult but it was beautiful and worth it. There are not very many flat spots so it continuously goes uphill but the lake at the top is breath taking!

Great hike and beautiful hidden lakes, very tranquil Road is rough getting up to the trailhead, recommend a 4x4 or rental car.

Great hike, my son even made it and he’s only 5. Beautiful spot.

This trail was a good half day trip! It was a truly magical place! There are a number of lakes up there and they are all connected! There are also some great vantage points on the way up

A little rocky but is is worth the view

Nice hike. Continue on a bit further on to Heather Lake via the trail that leads right of Emerald Lake once you reach the lake. It's a bit more private and quiet for this trail which gets a ton of multi-use traffick.

This was a nice slow hike through the woods. I got to the parking lot at around 830 am on a Friday thinking it would be crowded, but I was one of a couple of vehicles there. The trail is rocky but very doable. I had no problems with the trail or the hike. I seemed to be the only person on the trail at that time of day. it wasn't until I was getting close to the lake that younger hikers started passing me. It is a beautiful lake with wonderful views. On the return hike to the parking lot, the crowds were just heading up.

2 months ago

been there many times. I always enjoy the varying terrain and scenery.

Rocky trail with some interesting creek crossing structures that work well until the it goes down a bit. Lots of friendly people and dogs out and about. Great destination for a quick break before you head back down.
And if you enjoy wild strawberries those should be ripe in the next few weeks!

A well populated trail. Despite the number of people who fill up the trail, the lake itself is huge, and there is opportunity to spread out a bit once you reach the lake. Nice spots to picnic or take a dip in the lake.

Magic trail, definitely moderate and perfect start to hiking in Bozeman.

Nice moderate hike to chilly lake. Two 60+ hikers and we made it up and back in just over 2 hours hike time. Would recommend. Just over 5 miles out and back.

hiking
2 months ago

Take the road until it dead ends at the last trail head. Note the trail head marker might be miss marked. It mentions trail 531 seasonal usage when in fact it’s trail 432 (I think). I started at noon and a good spray of bug repellent and had no problems. Pretty wide path and perfect gentle slope all the way up. I did a slow jog for most of it, really great trail running path, Up and down. Loaded with wildflowers. Passed plenty of happy friendly ppl. The lake is at the top of a wide open meadow. Crystal-clear waters. Me and the dogs are in good shape and even with our jogging and lots of picture time and playing in the water we made it up in 2 1/2 hours. And down in 1 1/2. Total 4 hr trip. Tank top, shorts, and Obozo low hikers. Nice to have a light zippy up top. Peace love and happiness to your hike!

Epic wild flower hike - beautiful.

backpacking
2 months ago

Fantastic and interesting trail, and a beautiful destination- worth the extra mile to get to Heather Lake. Terribly buggy, bring multiple bug sprays if you plan on staying more than an hour or two.

Very nice hike through the forest up to the lake. The path is pretty rocky so be prepared with some hiking shoes. Would recommend getting to the trail head before 8am. Not too many views on the way up, but the lake and the peaks at the top are worth it!

Very beautiful hike to the lake. The hike is quite tough with the long uphill way (7,5K) but worth to do it. We had no problems with mosquitoes...

Absolutely gorgeous! Will do it again soon.

Nice n easy hike. Quite scenic. Stay on the trail marked NFS 83 at the bifurcation to hidden lake cutoff. Ran into hikers that made the mistake of following the arrow pointing right rather than straight and ended up in the wrong location. Moderately trafficked with people at the destination. Road conditions leading up are tremendously bad.

hiking
2 months ago

wow!!! The views were absolutely astounding. Wildflowers everywhere. I started early in the morning, which meant it was nice and shady on the trail, there weren’t too many other hikers/bikers, and the bugs weren’t as bad. Make sure to bring some solid hiking boots — I wore my running shoes and they did not fare well. The trail is very rocky throughout and dusty toward the top. Also beware of grizzly bears and their droppings. Keep bear spray with you just in case (I didn’t see any, but better safe than sorry), and watch out for the droppings along the trail. The lake was beautiful as well — you can walk all around it and there are plenty of little shady spots to eat lunch or dip your feet. Also make sure to veer off the small paths toward the stream every once in a while, there is a waterfall, some cascades, and there are wildflowers all along the creek bed. Overall, a really lovely outing!

We did this after another relatively strenuous hike, so it took a bit longer than expected. The scenery on the way up (and down) isn’t anything remarkable, but the view at the top is totally worth it. This ended up being my favorite hike that we did in Big Sky!

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