Lake Plateau Trail is a 24.4 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near McLeod, Montana that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Length24.4 miElevation gain5,442 ftRoute typeLoop
BackpackingCampingHikingNature tripsWalkingBird watchingDog friendlyForestLakeViewsWildflowersWildlife
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Reviews (11)
Photos (16)
Activities (5)
Completed (25)
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chris Whitley
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Hiking
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chris Whitley
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Hiking
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Jessica Ruf
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HikingBugs
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Shannon Parsons
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BackpackingGreat!

Really unbelievably gorgeous. Feels like you are on top of the world with mountain ranges in every direction, wildflowers and lakes everywhere. We camped at Rainbow Lakes, Pinchot, and Fish Lake. Rainbow Lakes has great sites on the south side, around 200 feet from the water, as required. We had a bear outside of our tent at 4am while camping at Fish Lake. Not sure if it keyed in on fish odors after cooking fish over our campfire (although we thought we burned every scrap) or if it was just making the rounds. It didn't get any food reward so hopefully it won't bother anyone else. We were glad we followed bear guidelines and had our tent at least 100 ft from our food and cooking area. The switchbacks on the way up had a nice grade to them. We thanked trail crew out loud many times for all the work they put into this amazing trail. This plateau is so unbelievably gorgeous, I'm still dreamy about it.

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Nathan Brink
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 23, 2020
Hiking

Frankly, I don't know how this isn't one of the most popular trails in the Beartooths. Stunning views, lush forest, beautiful lakes, a generally very well maintained trail. Not a lot of traffic (only came across a few people the entire trip), good campsites with plenty of firewood available. Mosquitos were pretty bad... Rather than take Upsidedown creek trail both ways, we went up the East Fork of the Boulder (trail 27 starting from Box Canyon Trailhead), and then up Rainbow Creek (trail 28) to meet up with the loop. Did the loop around the plateau, and then back down Upsidedown Creek. Definitely recommend.

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Brian Sturm
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 19, 2020
Hiking

Really great hike. You pass over 10 gorgeous alpine lakes. First 7 miles are all uphill but worth it for the lakes. The last 5 miles of the road are rough, AWD recommended. Highly recommend this trail

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Colin Bingham
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Hiking

Unbelievable, very very cool place.

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Madison Lindsay
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Hiking

Absolutely gorgeous trail. The first 7 or so miles to Horseshoe Lake are a difficult, steady climb with lots of switchbacks and beautiful wildflowers. Its early July and still snow-covered near the top, but we were able to go over the top without too much post-holing. Horseshoe Lake to Rainbow Lakes was easy and flanked by streams, unnamed lakes, waterfalls, wildflowers, and pink snow. Camped at Rainbow Lake and then completed the loop around Lake Plateau back to Horseshoe to camp the second night. Easily hiked 7 miles out the next day in a couple hours as it was almost all downhill. Quite rocky until Horseshoe and then muddy and wet from Horseshoe through Lake Plateau. Several creek crossings and the water is high and fast! Our actual mileage was closer to 30 when all was said and done. Quintessential Montana hiking and camping—highly recommended!

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casey grote
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First to Review

great backpacking trip with lots of lakes.

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Jose Domenech
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Kent Eaton
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Hiking
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