Fairy Lake via Fairy Creek Trail

MODERATE 38 reviews
#13 of 92 trails in

Fairy Lake via Fairy Creek Trail is a 5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Bozeman, 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.

5.0 miles
977 feet
Out & Back

dog friendly


mountain biking

nature trips

off road driving





wild flowers




There are two ways to access Fairy Lake. The route shown here has you parking at the lower trailhead and traversing a couple miles along Fairy Creek eventually reaching Fairy Lake. This trail can either be hiked, mountain biked, or off-road driven. Alternatively, you could continue driving up Forest Service Road 74 to the Fairy Lake Trailhead. From there it is a very short walk to Fairy Lake. This route can also be found on AllTrails. Please note that the road to the trailhead is very rough and muddy. Depending on the time of year it might require a 4WD vehicle with good clearance. The route shown on this page provides an alternative route in case the Fairy Lake Trailhead farther up is inaccessible because of conditions.

1 month ago

We loved this trail, biked it, it was a nice challenge going up, and fun going down. The lake is beautiful.

2 months ago

Nice little multi-purpose trail headed up to Fairy Lake if you are looking to nix the last two miles up to the lake due to road conditions. This trail certainly gets the job done in that case and is nice for adding a few more miles on to your day at Fairy Lake and up to Sacajawea Peak.

2 months ago

The drive to the lake is very rough—probably not advisable unless your car/truck has high clearance and/or 4WD. The lake is very pretty, but can be crowded on the weekend. The flies were especially bad when we went.

2 months ago

This trail is incorrectly marked on ‘AllTrails’. This is actually Fairy Creek Trail which does eventually take you to fairy lake. I would mark it as moderate due to it’s steady incline on the trek in. It was a great alternative for us as we did not want to continue up that horrible road to Sacagawea Peak trail head. It is an obvious atv trail based on the tracks however we saw only one other person on this trail and they were on foot which made for a very peaceful trek in to fairy lake. Once getting to the lake we then walked around the lake and made our way up to Sacagawea pass. All together our day was a 7 mile trip.

4 months ago

decent hike but not great. the views are obstructed all the way up. the trail is littered with fallen trees and atv tracks. the snow was also pretty deep when I went last week. the lake at the top is pretty

4 months ago

Rough rode to travel up too the trail head, definitely want something that sits up higher than a car. We had just taken the road right after a rain shower and it was slick.

The trail was good, still quite a bit of snow towards the top but not bad to hike through! Gorgeous views once you get to the lake!


4 months ago

6/7/18 still had some snow along parts of the trail, but well packed down and fairly easy to trek across. Great views at the top.

10 months ago

So much fun!!! The view was well worth it!!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Really nice little walk. You can actually drive the first 5 miles if you have a good car with 4 wheel drive (we did see little cars too though with no 4 wheel drive but I probably wouldn't recommend doing that). The walk around the lake is very nice and easy and the lake is beautiful!

Monday, September 11, 2017

If you drive all the way to the lake/campground, you're only left with the short walk around the lake.

The five mile hike starts at the lower trailhead. This isn't explained well here in the app, unfortunately.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

very cool for beginners!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

STOP! NO LONGER GOOD FOR HIKERS! This path has been bulldozed to create a wider, straighter trail for 4Wheelers. The result is lots of loose rocks and dust on the trail, shade trees adjacent to the trail cut down, low spots deeply burrowed and the side hill cut to expose more rocks and dirt. We hiked the same route as on the main map shown for this hike. If you insist on hiking this trail, bring a bandana to cover your mouth and nose to protect you from all the dust. It crosses the creek once then is in the trees with only a few good viewpoints. Also known as Trail 500. Bring water for your dog. A better option is to drive another 10-15 minutes up to Fairy Lake, then hike to Sacajawea Peak. Fairy Lake is very pretty at the base of the peak and has a rope swing in the far side. About a 50-60 minute drive from Bozeman's Main St and Rouse. Motorized access might be limited during hunting season. The road passes through a lot of private land before reaching the parking area.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Great Hike and absolutely amazing lake! The road was extremely rough well worth it though! Check out my post all about it!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Absolutely gorgeous! One of my favorite places. It's a little more difficult at the beginning of the trail, but overall it was pretty mellow.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

The road getting there was rougher than expected (at least in a VW golf) but the area is beautiful.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

So we had to park in the lower parking lot due to the snow, which made this a lot longer of a hike! It was about 12-13 miles round trip. We could not believe it when we saw you could drive right up to the lake in the summer.. haha. The trailhead sign was buried in snow. It was HARD in the snow, not to mention it started blizzarding when we got to the frozen lake. Made for a fun adventure though & those mountain views at the top were amazing, plus the absolute silence. I can't imagine how it would look when it was a clear day!! If your feeling adventurous, go for it in the Winter :)

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Beautiful Hike!!! We took the longer way to get there but we made it!!! So pretty breathtaking

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Beautiful lake! I only walked around the lake, not the full trail. Next time...

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Fairy Lake is gorgeous. It is a really easy 'hike'. Only thing is that I did notice some leaches in the water.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

There were private property/keep out signs all over, made us very uncomfortable. There's a fork in the road once you reach the Fairy Lake National Forest area, if you go left (like a sheriff told us to do) it has a security gate and access is completely blocked. The sheriff assured us it was all public land, but it was just not the kind of day we were looking for; No relaxation or hiking to be found there for us. Left and hiked another NF area. There was also a group of around ten law enforcement vehicles out there today, pretty odd.

Friday, July 01, 2016

I love this hike, it was very easy, never really out of breath. I saw a lot of wildlife signs... which is good :) the lake is just beautiful! there is a rope swing for those who want to hop in for a dip. great hike in my opinion!

Friday, June 24, 2016

the drive to the lane was way worse than the hike. the hike was basically a walk around the lake but it was beautiful and offered great views in some areas id you went off the trail just a bit.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Fairy Lake is a truly breath-taking alpine lake hidden in the Bridger Range. The road gets pretty rough about 2-3 mi from the lake, so bring a vehicle w/ some clearance (nothing TOO extreme necessary). The trail itself is a simple look that tends to hug the lake shore. The water is crystal clear; if you keep an eye on the water you'll often see schooling 15"+ cutthroats cruising for food. This hike isn't a very closely guarded secret, so don't expect to have the lake to yourself.

Final thought, you can swim here, but even in early August, the water is FRIGID cold! But it's great for cooling off after hiking Sacajawea! :-)

Sunday, September 01, 2013

It's worth the drive going to Fairy Lake. The trail along the lake is pretty short and level and have a beautiful all around. Great place to hike with your families and swim afterwards. Camera would be very handy to capture the beauty of the place.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Wow, what an amazing place. My girlfriend and I just went up with the dogs for the first time over the weekend. Everyone enjoyed swimming in this beautiful, crystal clear lake and you can't get much better scenery. We definitely plan on coming back. The road up was not as bad as some people led us to believe (we were in a Chevy Malibu), although a high clearance vehicle would be preferable. We also stayed at the nearby campground which was free and offered great views as well.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Don't miss this one! The views are breathtaking. Good hot day hike, lots of tree cover as you walk around the lake. Good places to go into the water which will definitely cool you off. My dogs love the swimming also.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

This is an easy hike around a beautiful small lake. I saw one woman wearing rubber thongs. My GPS measured it as .80 mile, not 1.2. Be sure to bring bug spray for the biting flies, but it is well worth the trip. It was a beautiful drive to the trail, 23 miles of paved road from I-90 and 7th St.and then an additional 6 miles of dirt rd to the Trailhead. You don't need 4X, but a high clearance vehicle is recommended. The wild flowers off of the road in early July were amazing.

Monday, March 11, 2013

I love this place! I have been going to Fairy Lake and wandering the trail since I was a little one. The trail is easy for anyone, little tike to grandmother, and offers wonderful views. The lake is very clear and picturesque. There is also a nice little picnic area above the lake to enjoy a nice summer picnic.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

This is a beautiful walk suitable for all ages. Fairy Lake is such a picturesque scene, absolutely pristine wilderness at its best! I would recommend this to everyone!

27 days ago

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