Cedar Lakes Trail

HARD 19 reviews
#5 of 20 trails in

Cedar Lakes Trail is a 13.5 mile out and back trail located near Libby, Montana that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, trail running, camping, and backpacking and is best used from July until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

13.5 miles
4,117 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash




trail running



wild flowers



3 months ago

Awesome trail, long hike but gradual climb. We stayed two nights at upper cedar lake and enjoyed the views from Dome Mountain.

5 months ago

Most definitely ‘moderate’ — not ‘hard’. It’s all a steady gradual climb in beautiful forest: lots of shade, stream always close by, beautiful flowers and mushrooms. To me it was all about the journey up and less about the lakes at the end. I should say, lake views were tainted by recent/on-going wildfire smoke. Bottom line: if you’re in the area, DO IT! Totally worth a day of your life!!

5 months ago

Awesome hike. Make sure you don’t stop at the upper lake and make the extra hike up the ridge overlooking both lakes, the views are totally worth it.

If not for the length I’d say it’s a moderate trail, there are very few painfully steep sections and most of it is just a long gradual climb that isn’t bad on the knees. However, I definitely felt it in my legs afterwards so the Hard designation is probably accurate.

6 months ago

Just got off the trail and absolutely loved it! The lakes are so beautiful and the hike up is honestly well tracked out. I would almost rate this as an moderate trail as there is really no steep sections and its just a slow gradual climb. Dont forget to bring bug spray! I didnt find the beginning of the trail bad but once you get to the lakes you get swarmed by mosquitoes!

There are a couple good campsites to choose from at both lakes. Definitely recommend doing this trail:)

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Absolutely gorgeous, scrambled up to Dome mountain which made the hike about 21 miles round trip. definitely worth It!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Awesome trail. Great views. We saw 2 bears and a moose.

Monday, July 24, 2017

A wonderful and breathtaking hike!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Firstly, I will say that my 5 star is actually more of a 4.7. The hike was a gradual and steady climb with only a few steep parts that were barely 100 meters in length. While shaded 90% and near Cedar creek up to the lakes, be prepared for the dry and exposed mile and a half up to the ridge. With a moderate enjoyable hike along the creek and breathtaking scenery at the ridge, the only downside to this trail was the mosquitoes at the lakes. If you are just going on a day hike and don't stay near the lakes for too long, then the bugs are not a terrible experience, however if you are staying the night as I did (7/8/17-7/9/17) I would highly encourage camping as far away from the lakes as possible. While the bugs eventually went away around 10 PM, they were sitting on the netting outside of my tent waiting to greet the pups and I. Overall, I highly recommend this trail as the sights are beautiful and the trail is a great experience however, don't be a fool like me and neglect to bring bug spray.

Monday, July 10, 2017

We did this trail last week and camped at upper cedar lake. Steady climb up. It's breathtaking. However the mosquitos and flys were terrible. Worst I've ever seen here. We went up trail 360N around Dome mountain the next day and camped on the ridge line. They were a little better but still swarmed dawn and dusk. Still a lot of snow to cross up high. It's a fantastic hike with spectacular scenery.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

It is almost ready for the year!! There were only a few trees down and they were all ones you can step over!! There is still a lot of snow above the lower lake and up to the divide trail.

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Forest Service has a decent map of all of the trails connected in the area that you can pick up in the Libby office. The "knowledgeable" employees were all "in training" when we got there, so a kindly temp and office worder gave us a printout of trail info and I helped myself to map. The FS printout lists this trail as 500 feet vertical, so we chose it. Of course, it is actually 3000 feet if you study the map. Your tax dollars at work. Camping at upper lake is ok but close to water. You will want to try to keep your footprint minimal and not tear branches off live trees for your fire. Use the dead branches or just go up the ridge trail a few hundred yards and collect blow-down wood for your fire. Day hiking from upper lake is great--you can go 2 directions with great views. The trail to the lake is a steady climb with lots of blow-down in a 1-mile stretch just inside wilderness boundary. Keeps out the horsy crowd. Mosquitos increase when you leave the hemlock-cedar forest in lower part. Would rate a 5 but the trail itself is a bit tiresome.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Moderate blowdown in the wilderness area. Snow still blocking the trails above the lakes. Beautiful scenery.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Tons of trees down still... Barely any snow at the lower lake no though.

horseback riding
Thursday, January 08, 2015

These are two separate trails. The trail heads are about 25 yards apart. Scenery is the first, then Cedar Lakes comes right after. If you choose the Cedar Lakes trail bring your bear spray, lots of huckleberry's. Grizzley bears have been reported in the area. Cedar lakes follows Cedar creek most the way, its in the shade and beautiful walk. A slight grade the entire way, that will get your legs and lungs a workout. Upper Cedar Lake is spectacular. A small primitive campsite, right on the lake,.
Scenery Mountain trail, is a old logging road, if the gate is open it will save you a few miles of climbing, the view is great along the road, once on the actual trail, it follows the ridge. No water on this trail, and if its summer you will be in the sun on the road portion.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

29 August 2014

Great hike. Directions had us take Cedar Creek Road off of Highway 2, between Libby and Troy. Mild Forest Service Road in excellent condition. Trailhead was marked a mile or two up the road with ample parking.

Hike was a steady climb to both Lower and Upper Cedar Lakes. You gain more than half the elevation in the first couple miles of the hike, with the very beginning being the steepest. Trail was very clean all the way up and at no point did we lose the trail (though the junction with Upper Cedar Lake isn't marked, its fairly obvious). Huckleberries were all along the trail, with the majority being after you pass the Wilderness boundary. If you get off trail there are even more to find amongst the thick vegetation.

Lower Cedar Lake was the first point we noticed the mosquitos. The main campsite is right as the lake is first revealed. We found a second spot, to the left and back by the marshy area on some rocks over looking the lake to hang our hammocks. We found plenty of driftwood for a fire and this kept the mosquitos mostly at bay along with a slight breeze that came from being on higher ground. The lower campground was occupied and was thick with mosquitos when we came through. Fish jumped all evening and the other parties had some success with flies. All night and into the morning we had deer and elk crashing the woods and brush around us.

We headed up to Upper Cedar Lake in the morning expecting a four mile hike (misprint in guidebook) - however it was only about another half a mile up the trail. There were plenty of camping spots throughout the area. To the left you'll find where the lake spills into a creek, down a mountainside and into the Lower Lake. To the right you'll start heading farther along the trail, higher above Upper Cedar Lake. Great shoreline for fishing without too much brush where you first come to the lake. The farther you go in either direction the more brush you'll find. Fish were jumping all day (even midday). They showed no interest in lures but would bite just about anything on top of the water. Dome Mountain looms large over both the lakes. Crystal clear water, refreshing in mid-summer. Mosquitos didn't care how much DEET you had on and were a pain throughout the day. When they weren't biting the flies were. However, neither was enough to ruin what was a great hike and a fantastic area to explore and spend the day.

So far as wildlife goes: We ran into adolescent moose both days on the trail. Elk crashed through the marsh in the early morning. Deer banged all night. Wolves talked to one another in early evening.We saw no signs of bear activity (though that means nothing overall).

5 months ago

Monday, August 28, 2017

Monday, September 26, 2016