Louise Lake National Recreation Trail

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Deerlodge National Forest

Louise Lake National Recreation Trail is a 6.6 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Pony, Montana that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length6.6 miElevation gain1,348 ftRoute typeOut & back
Dogs on leashKid friendlyBackpackingFishingHikingHorseback ridingNature tripsForestLakeViewsWildflowersWildlifeSnow
Waypoints (0)
Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (44)
Photos (58)
Recordings (26)
Completed (69)
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Tracey Fleming
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HikingGreat!

Great hike! In the Tobacco Root Mtns, the road to the trailhead went through Cardwell and the small community of Mammoth, with nice fall colors. The road past the small community of Mammoth was rough but we had a 4 wheel drive so no problem. The trail was in good shape, consisting of many switchbacks with a pretty steady climb throughout. The rocks are unique, with multi colored layering...making this a fun trail for me. Louise Lake is very pretty, with rocky slides and cliffs and a meadow area. We fished (unsuccessfully) around the lake. It was somewhat cloudy and a little smoke haza so photos are not quite clear. My All Trails recorder stopped around the lake. My hiking partner recorded around 8.4 miles which is up and back and all the way around the lake, so likely 7.5 up and back. This was a good hike, and my first in the Tobacco Root Mtns. Note when you come to the forest service outhouse, take the right fork. Later you stay left. The trailhead has two trails, one to Lost Cabin Lake (labeled) and the other to Louise Lake National Recreation Trail.

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Tracey Fleming
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Hiking

Hiked with a friend to Louise Lake in the Tobacco Root Mtns. The drive through Cardwell and Mammoth was quite pretty with fall colors. The road gets bad after Mammoth in a few spots. The hike was good. Most of it switchbacks up the mountain. The rocks are really pretty, and unique with layered, multi-colored (striped) appearance. We had no luck fishing, just a few bites. It was cool. The lake is pretty with some nice rocky cliffs.

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Nelson Briggs
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Hiking
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Elijah Allen
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HikingGreat!

Super fun trail for family. 3.6 miles from trailhead. Rough road for 2 miles before trailhead. Stay left on forked roads. Trailhead was about 15-20 miles from Cardwell.

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Ben Sorensen
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Hiking

great trail. not too difficult and shady most of the way.

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Peyton Rodriguez
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HikingGreat!

It was really smokey due to all the fires, but awesome hike! You're steadily climbing the entire time but it's spaced out nicely that it never feels too difficult. As everyone else says, the road to get there is really rough but my Subaru Forester made it with only a few sketchy spots!

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Peyton Rodriguez
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HikingGreat!
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Gina Reynolds
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HikingGreat!

Trail is 4 miles to the lake, not 6.6 total. High clearance/4WD is definitely needed to get to the trailhead, passed lots of cars that stopped a mile+ short and walked the rest of the way. Trail was in great shape, lake was gorgeous. Waterfalls are dried up now (Aug 15th). There were no bugs, it was really nice.

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Caitie Van Sloun
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HikingBugsRocky

You need four wheel drive to make it to the trail head!! We were going 5 mph in my Jeep at points. The trailhead and actual trail is completely different than what AllTrails has on the map. There are two different trails... the AllTrails trail crosses the creek without a bridge but is shadier, the actual National Forest trail has a bridge to cross the creek but has limited shade on the way up. Both trails end at Louise Lake. Beautiful lake at the top but bring bug spray!

Comment from AllTrails

- 8 months ago

Thanks for your feedback. This trail has been reviewed and updated to reflect the actual route. For additional questions please email support@alltrails.com

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Travis Johnson
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Hiking

Excellent hike to a pretty amazing lake. The road to the trailhead does get rough as previously mentioned by other reviewers. A 4x4 is highly recommended. The trail was in great shape and the lake was gorgeous.

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John Tabb
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HikingSnow

This is a great little hike but still too much snow to fully enjoy in June. It will be great by mid-July. The drive in was rough for the last few miles. A 4x4 is highly recommended. The three mile trail up to the lake is fairly easy but the snow meant a fair amount of post-holing that was exhausting and frustrating. The lake is a gem but it was rainy and cold which made enjoying it a challenge. The place gets a lot of use by horse hikers so there’s quite a bit of horse dung to step around. A sign nailed to a tree from 2019 says camping was off limits because someone’s horse died at the lake drawing grizzlies from miles around.

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Hunter Jefferies
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BackpackingFloodedIcyMuddySnowWashed out

The snow is blocking the trail rn went a bit early so we had to camp at the reservoir still had a great time

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Christina Wyatt
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HikingMuddySnow

Great hike with nice views along the way. A few water passes but easy to get across. The lake was gorgeous and we only saw one other group hiking so it was very peaceful. There is still snow on the trail up towards the lake but it’s manageable. Not many bugs on our hike but it was a cooler day. Make sure you have a high clearance vehicle to get to the trail head. It was rough and rocky for the last 6 miles or so.

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Craig Bergrstedt
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HikingSnow
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Cannon Milligan
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HikingMuddyPrivate propertySnow

Did this hike June 4th 2019. There was snow on 80% of the trail starting at the trailhead. We drove a good ways to get there so we just committed to post holing to the top. Manageable as long as you have a gps app or gps unit.

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Elizabeth Bobowiec
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Great trail. Beautiful views, not too long, amazing lake end destination. Wooded and lovely.

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Lakota Killeen
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the trail was great! the hike is more like 5 miles one way not 6 in and out. my pedometer listed it as 10.09 miles in and out. the lake was absolutely beautiful and well worth the hike in. there are 3 water crossings on the way up, but they are easy to get across!

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Susan Hemion
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Hiking

The trail is very steep and very eroded due to 4 wheeler use. Beautiful views. I would rate this as difficult due to large amount of boulders and the very steep incline.

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Krislyn McSherry
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Hiking

Beautiful hike with about 80 or so switchbacks that is moderately shaded and has plenty of nice views. A few easy water crossings and a gorgeous view of the lake and cirque once you make it to the top. Take binoculars if you want to check out any wildlife across the lake up on the mountainside. We saw a beautiful bald eagle and a large mountain goat from a distance. Only saw one other person up at the lake, but otherwise had the entire place to ourselves (Thursday 7/19/18 mid morning-early afternoon) The last couple of miles to the trailhead are a pretty rough and rocky so a 4WD vehicle with good ground clearance is recommended but it may be doable with a 2WD when conditions are really good. Also be sure to pack the bug spray, those dang horse flies bite hard! Overall, one of our all-time favorite hikes!

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Sally Judd
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Hiking

Absolutely beautiful trail. Views along the trail and the lake are spectacular!! We would recommend hikers watch out for rain or heavy runoff as the water crossing could be difficult. We wouldn’t think about getting to this trailhead unless we were in a large 4WD or an ATV. Temps at the top are significantly lower than at trailhead. Snow along the top of the trail today. So cool! Can’t wait to return!!

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Drew Van Fossen
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Hiking

Hiked to Louise Lake on a Monday and had the place to ourselves. Left my phone in the car so didn't record the hike or take any pics. This is a great hike with lots and lots of switchbacks, many with great vistas looking west toward Sailor Lake (another great hike). Louise has Yellowstone Cutthroat trout. Caught two. There was a little snow on the upper trail but nothing tough to get over or around. Good bit of snow around the east end of the lake.

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Teresa Crawford
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Fishing

Beautiful hike to Lake Louise. Moderately trafficked, well maintained trail. Total hike is 7.4 miles. Lots of nice campsites by the lake, we saw about 8 tents 7/29/17. Good fishing for Cut Throat trout.

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