Crater Lake is a 10.8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Bigfork, Montana that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from July until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 10.8 miles Elevation Gain: 1,725 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

camping

fishing

hiking

running

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

muddy

over grown

Limited parking is available at the Camp Misery Trailhead. Check in at the Rangers station. Bathrooms are available at the parking lot but NO water

hiking
closed
icy
snow
3 days ago

5/29/20- could not drive even to the parking lot. The Snow (2-3’) starts about .7 miles out from parking lot. Which means entire trail would also be snow. Do not go yet.

hiking
over grown
9 months ago

Awesome hike! The trail to Birch Lake is really nice and obviously well traveled. The last 2 miles to Crater are fairly over grown and tougher. As many have said, be sure to take the left around mile 5.2. There’s an outhouse and a lookout, and then a trail down to the lake. Clearest water I’ve ever seen. We started at 7:30am on a Friday, only a few cars that had been there overnight. We were out by 12:30 and the lot was overflowing. Several groups of kids getting ready to camp.

hiking
9 months ago

About an half mile from Crater lake, the map tries to take you on an old overgrown trail that doesn't lead down to the lake. The real trail is up to the left, where there is a rocky overlook. It is easy to follow if you go this way.

hiking
9 months ago

very nice. It is a little difficult to find trail down to lake but definitely worth the effort. Started from trail head at about 645 am and only saw few campers at both Birch lake and Crater Lake. Back out about 1 on a Saturday and about 40 vehicles in lot...go early. Take a lunch and kick back by a beautiful lake.

hiking
bugs
10 months ago

hiking
snow
11 months ago

Hiked in on June 15, 2019. Beautiful views. Quiet & serene. Tent camped out on the "island". Snow packed from Birch Lake to Crater Lake made route finding a challenge, but was still fun!

off trail
snow
11 months ago

gorgeous hike, snow covered after birch right now but well worth it.

hiking
Sun Sep 02 2018

Really beautiful trail, but never made it down to the lake due to losing the trail. We have since figured out our mistake and will probably go back next summer! Saw mountain goats and bear scat, but made lots and lots of noise to scare away any unwanted bear encounters.

hiking
Sun Aug 26 2018

The road up to the parking lot has a lot of washboard areas which made the drive less enjoyable, even in a 4WD truck. Parking was adequate. The hike was very enjoyable. Lots of variety including lakes, rocks, streams and alpine meadows. We didn’t run into any bears but we had bear spray just in case.

backpacking
Mon Aug 06 2018

Beautiful if you can find your way down to it! Desperately wanted to spend the night. Was at the top looking down on Crater Lake but trail was hard to follow. It appears to lead you through a Bush-whacking stretch but if you find yourself doing that then you missed the narrow little, hard-left turn that seemingly only takes you to an overlook. As I was later told, you need to follow over (along the top of that rock) and trail continues on other side. It is thick bear country — evidence in my pic of large scat at ‘end of trail’.

hiking
Tue Dec 12 2017

quiet and be ready for a swim

Wed Jul 12 2017

Oh my goodness, this trail has it all. I was worried about bears so I made a lot of noise and saw no wildlife. A lady I met on the trail said she saw mountain goats though. All of the lakes are spectacular. Crater lake it by far the best. So secluded and peaceful. The trail is a bit hard to follow and overgrown in just a few places. Coming out was much easier to follow and very strenuous. Well worth every step though. The views are some of the best I have seen. Do not sell yourself short and stop at Birtch Lake, Crater is well worth the extra hike!

Fri Jun 23 2017

Beautiful hike. We took our dog and loved it. Only one side note: we decided to do this on our drive from Swan Lake to Glacier National Park while towing our travel trailer. The road is narrow, dirt, and eventually reaches a pretty steep drop off the side towards the end. It's a great hike, just do it before you head to your next destination and leave the trailer. Also, there was plenty of snow left in the first mile of the hike.

hiking
Thu Jul 28 2016

The first 5 miles in was beautiful. The last mile to the lake is not well marked and the trail is overgrown. We didn't make it all the way to the shores of the lake, but we could see it. We did stop at Birch Lake on our way in, lots of people fishing and we watched a few people catch some.

hiking
Sun Jun 26 2016

Great hike with awesome views. Please be considerate though and do not feed the mountain goats up there though as cute as they may be.

hiking
Tue Jul 08 2014

We did this hike at the beginning of July. This year (2014) it hasn't been a very warm summer so far. The trail was covered by snow almost the whole way once you hit Birch Lake. We did miles of side-hilling in the snow, which any hiker knows can be pretty rough! We may not have made it without ice cleats and trekking poles, there was about 5 feet of snow at most spots. I can't really speak to the trail because it was difficult to follow with the snow so we tried to just find the easiest way to go through the snow... The trail was pretty washed out in some of the spots where it could actually be seen due to the snow melt. We did run in to black flies on the way there (at Birch) so if you take your dog make sure to use pet safe bug repellent on them! The lake is incredibly beautiful and there's an awesome little island to sit and fish off of. We only got a few casts in then had to head back... It's a great trip!!!

hiking
8 months ago

hiking
8 months ago

hiking
9 months ago

hiking
10 months ago

hiking
10 months ago

hiking
11 months ago

Sun Mar 24 2019

hiking
Tue Oct 09 2018

Sun Aug 26 2018

recorded Crater Lake - Jul 29

hiking
Sun Jul 29 2018

hiking
Fri Jul 06 2018

Showing results 1 - 27 of 29