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Bass Creek Trail

MODERATE 165 reviews

Bass Creek Trail is a 6.6 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Florence, Montana that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 6.6 miles Elevation Gain: 1,138 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

nature trips

snowshoeing

bird watching

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

blowdown

rocky

snow

washed out

From US 93 turn west onto Bass Creek road located 4 miles south of Florence. Travel 2.5 miles to Charles Waters Memorial Campground. The Bass Creek trailhead is located at the west end of the campground.

hiking
snow
19 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful trail. Starts off pretty wooded but clears up

hiking
2 months ago

Great little hike

hiking
3 months ago

Beautiful trail that mostly tracks along the creek. Lots of grasshoppers and butterflies, but otherwise not too many bugs. We appreciated that it was shady for a majority of the hike. Gradual uphill most of the time, with some flatter or slightly steeper spots mixed in.

hiking
3 months ago

Hiked this trail last week. Pros: - shaded - the trail is in excellent shape, very wide and not super rocky - the waterfall was 4 miles in and very beautiful; I climbed up for another mile Or so past the waterfall and just couldn’t find the trail, I was walking in a dry creek bed (not sure if this is a pro, but it was better than bushwhacking!) Cons: - the trail definitely disappears, I had my GPS and was doing some bushwhacking and finally decided to take the path of least resistance on the other side of the creek crossing - pretty buggy, but that was to be expected Overall this was a nice hike, very easy, with a nice creek to walk next to. Not sure that I would hike this again. I would say just okay:) as someone else said, there should be a separate map and listing to the lake—I would have liked to have found that trail!

hiking
4 months ago

This trail while beautiful, is confusing. The creek and falls are really pretty; heading the water in the background almost the entire trail was peaceful. We thought this trail led to the lake. We hiked probably 3+ miles and ended up at a spot requiring us to cross the creek. We visited with another couple at that same spot. They said they didn’t think the trail required crossing, so we doubled back with them and took off up another path. This portion was pretty steep and many switchbacks. We lost them and stopped about 2.5 miles up this path and turned around. I believe this path eventually leads to the lake, but looking at our GPS, we were just over halfway at that point and well over 4 miles in.

hiking
4 months ago

Excellent hike - beautiful scenery, rolling creek, easy to access, very dog friendly. Really pretty hike with plenty of creek access and shade. Bass creek = doggo heaven. We had to wade across the trail where it intersects with the creek (a few times) which we all enjoyed. Beautiful views of the gnarly Bitterroot crags. The drive out there is super easy. We weren’t heading all the way to the lake though. Definitely incurred a few mosquito bites along the way! 5-stars.

hiking
4 months ago

Hiked up to the first water crossing today. Fairly easy trail and perfect day. No bugs and few horse droppings. I agree with an earlier reviewer about the dogs - of 15 I encountered only 2 were on-leash. And I almost had to smack one with my hiking stick that charged me barking. A FB contact of mine mentioned she saw her first mountain lion on this trail. Hate to see any of those pets end up as tasty snacks for the wildlife but it could happen.

hiking
4 months ago

I love this hike! The best time to do it is in May or June. Everything is very lush and green that time of year. Although, you should be aware of high water in early Spring. I always hike up 2.0 miles to a little pond that was created by a log jam. That is a good place for a little lunch break. You can turn around here, or continue on for another 1.5 miles (3.5 miles total) to see a waterfall in the distance on the mountain.

hiking
4 months ago

A very pleasant hike. Never too rocky or steep. The pond at 2 miles is beautiful with picturesque mountains behind. One mile further on a nearly flat trail the path crosses the Creek. It's well worth walking to there as the view is incredible

hiking
bugs
rocky
5 months ago

Lots of bugs. Flys were pretty bad this July. Beautiful scenery. Steady climb up all the way in. We are leisure hikers and it took us about 4 hours.

hiking
5 months ago

This was a nice hike on a well maintained trail. Views were nice of the creek. My only “complaint” was lots of piles of horses%*!, but nothing that couldn’t be easily dodged.

hiking
5 months ago

This is a great trail, well maintained, along a beautiful creek. Also I chose it because it I knew it was not “hard” like the rating says, having been here once before on a field trip with 7th graders. I returned hoping to go a little further than I had gotten with the 7th grade class, hopefully reach the lake. I knew to reach the lake required taking a different trail having read some of the other reviews on here, unfortunately I had some trouble figuring out how to get to it. I took a path that jutted out to the right of the main trail, ended up at a “T” not knowing whether to turn right or left, and ended up turning back shortly after due to a time constraint I was under. With more experience and better research I would have been better off Im sure. Looking at this map now, I can see I was correct to have gone right, just didn’t have enough time to do it in. But a great trail and I plan to go back for another try.

hiking
5 months ago

The trail is very rocky in spots, and a series of switchbacks can feel interminable. But on a fine June morning, wildflowers are in bloom, birds are everywhere, and the views are spectacular. Look for a waterfall about 3.5 miles up the canyon. On this day, I went 4 miles up. Nowhere near the lake, but that's no problem.

hiking
bugs
off trail
rocky
6 months ago

Trail conditions mid-June are beautiful. The trail itself is wide, well-maintained, and family friendly. Lots of families, backpackers, and solo hikers out. There are loose rocks in some places so hiking or athletic shoes are recommended. Also spots for fishing along the way and very shaded. Mosquitos were out so be aware. People also do NOT keep their dogs on leashes, like most places in the area people do not obey this rule and dogs seem to constantly approach you on the trail. Now... this particular map is a little wonky. 98% of this trail is easy-moderate and I was confused by the "hard" rating until I got to the end. If you follow this map it leads you to a heavy creek crossing and then requires you to turn back around right after crossing. Because this is only a partial trail of a longer one, my suggestion (and what I did) is to turn around before the crossing and save yourself from total submersion in potentially dangerous, quick flowing water this time of year. I would personally only cross if water is low or you'd like to continue on to the lake. Turning around here the trail ended up at exactly 6 miles for me. Ideally this trail map should end at the crossing, have a moderate rating, and a separate trail map should be created for continuing further. A lot of people seem to be reviewing for the lake, which is not where this one takes you and is getting pretty confusing. This map is more for people who want a half day hike. But it's a peaceful, forested trail nonetheless.

hiking
6 months ago

Damn. This hike was epic - awe-inspiring vistas, perfect weather, pleasantly mellow. With lots of photo stops and a lunch at Bass Lake, the journey took around 8 hours (started around 10:30am and returned around 7pm). For a rating of "hard," I was surprised at the moderate grade of the hike. Maybe I was distracted by the mountains. Elements that did pose a challenge were rock screes, swollen streams that required some barefoot maneuvering and a couple patches of remaining snow as we neared the lake. Other than that, pack lots of sunscreen and bug spray. 5/5 recommend.

hiking
6 months ago

Great out and back hike. If you like this one, check out Sweathouse creek trail too!

bugs
6 months ago

hiking
blowdown
muddy
7 months ago

fishing
Mon Oct 29 2018

*Review is to Bass Lake* I hiked this on what was probably the last "good" weather weekend of 2018, in the middle of October. I went primarily for fishing and to explore the no name lake just north of Bass. I stayed 2 nights. The hike to the lake is probably about 9ish miles one way. I only met a few spots with snow but nothing that couldn't be done with regular hiking boots. With a 40+ lb. pack, it took me 4 hours on the dot. There is a camping spot on the south side, just before the lake in the meadow-like area and there are others on the north/east side of Bass. You can follow the trail to find them. If you have the 2015 US Forest Service map, please note that it is incorrect. It does NOT reflect that the trail crosses the creek, which it does twice. After the first crossing you hit the worst of it. For about a 1.5-2 miles, you climb. Once you cross back over the creek, the climb is more gradual. The lake north of Bass, you'll have to go over the saddle. I started bush whacking to get there but realized there was a trail that will lead you that direction. The lake was about 90% frozen over already and contained no fish (I'm assuming it freezes over nearly entirely in the deep winter). It was cool to hike to though so if you have it in you, do it. You'll see some amazing views up there too. Fishing at Bass was awesome. I absolutely love this lake. *EDIT* - so there actually is a trail that stays on the north side of the creek. Once you get past the wilderness area sign, there is a fork. If you go right, it will keep you out of the creek. There are more switchbacks and I'd argue it will add another half mile or so to the overall trip taking that route.

Thu Oct 11 2018

Best trail!!

Thu Sep 13 2018

Hiked this trail on Sept.8th. the onset of Fall was beginning to appear. It was a little smokey but made for beautiful photos. This trail was rated as difficult and I somewhat agree with rating. Falls were gorgeous, Took the left fork and crossed the creek. My dog loved it. Clocked trail time at 6.5 hours to lake and back.

Sun Sep 02 2018

Lovely hike. We didn’t go all the way to the lake and this hike was easily 8.5 miles round trip. If you go to the lake add another 4 miles. I’m sure it’s worth it. Waterfalls and nice woods throughout. Enjoy!

backpacking
Mon Aug 13 2018

Great trip. The trail splits at about 2.8 miles or so. Guidebooks day to take the right fork. We did on the way out- limited shade switchbacks and rocky but beautiful. On the way back we took the other fork. This was super enjoyable and had two river crossings that were easy in low water. Lots of camp spots around the lake. Only two other camp groups. Caught some trout. Did find the offshoot for the Lappi Lake hike and followed it for a few hundred yards until it disappeared. Would love to go on this if it were maintained.

backpacking
Sat Aug 11 2018

The trail to Bass Lake is wonderful and maintained. A few notes for those going to the lake/camping and considering going further: 1. The trail splits half way through - a high road that avoids the stream and a low road that crosses the stream. They are unmarked. Be aware if you have a party that gets stretched out as you could miss one another. 2. Soon after you get to the lake, trail maintenance stops. The camping spots are on the southwestern corner of the lake, so be careful on the unmaintained portion. The “trail” goes and stays high above the water pretty much until you get to the WSW part of the lake. After that you can follow the shore and find a camping spot. There are several. 3. For those considering going over unmaintained Bass Pass and down into the Kootenai drainage, I recommend against it. You could make it from the lake to the pass (truly little to no trail and a ton of deadfall) to then attempt the summit of Bass Peak, but further than that is extremely dangerous. There is no trail to follow and is a scramble across boulders, deadfall, down the creek, and thick trees and undergrowth. We came the opposite way and could have easily gotten stuck or seriously hurt. It took more than 8 hours to reach the lake from the Kootenai trail. We would have quickly turned back had we not been meeting someone at the lake. It took 2 of our hiking poles. Can’t emphasize this enough - don’t do it.

hiking
Sat Aug 04 2018

Great shaded walk along a beautiful stream loaded w brook trout. At 2mi there is a small man made pond w a fantastic view of the mountains.

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