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Marion Lake Trail is a 7.5 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Essex, Montana that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 7.5 miles Elevation Gain: 3,057 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

cross country skiing



nature trips




bird watching




wild flowers

The trail head is on the right side of the road just before the bridge; if you go over the bridge you’ve gone too far.

2 days ago

pretty easy hike to an absolutely beautiful lake, great for a picnic and a quick swim at the top!

26 days ago

My wife and I did the trail today and had a great time. We saw the trail crew out there working to clear a few blowdowns. There were only two blowdowns left when we went back down, and the crew was working hard. The last quarter mile to the lake was all snow, but it was easy to stay on top. The lake was no longer frozen. It was a challenging hike for both of us, but very rewarding views at the lake and along the hike. It was very easy to navigate.

29 days ago

1 month ago

Hiked it today(06/04/2020). It is relatively short(3.5 hrs) but you're still able to get a good workout in because of how steep it is. As of today the lake is still mostly frozen and I did not see any trout. There is also alot of snow that you'll need to hike through beginning about a half mile from the lake. You are unable to hike the loop because of the snow. I hiked it solo and did not encounter any humans or bears. Worth doing but overall I'd rate it as average.

1 month ago

Moderateish trail, lots of ups but fairly short, hit snow about 3/4ers of the way up. lake was 95% frozen with only the logjam outlet flowing. lots of big spawning trout underneath. really pretty overall, enjoyed a nice lunch and listened to mini avalanches from the steep surrounding chutes.

over grown
10 months ago

The map wants you to start at the izaak walton but you can drive all the way to the trailhead if you want. Continue southwest on the highway and take dickey creek road (across from the halfway hotel). The road goes over the railroad, forks left and then continues on a little ways to the trailhead. Like others mentioned, trailhead is right before bridge. Trail is overgrown but easy to follow, would be five stars if it was maintained. Lake is clear and warm, didn't see anyone else. I didn't complete the loop since everything was so overgrown.

Sat Jun 09 2018

We went a few days ago and we found it to be an enjoyable hike. Decent cardio workout. We didn’t see anyone the entire time which made us nervous about bears but we didn’t see any bear sign at all. Parts of trail were a little muddy and once we were close to the lake we were on deep packed snow. The lake was mostly frozen still. It was all uphill but not super steep. Our small dog made it no problem. The only animals we saw were chipmunks and a huge garter snake. The lake/views were pretty. There are absolutely no signs to help you find the trailhead. If you go over the bridge you’ve gone too far; the trail head is up on the right side of the road just before the bridge.

Mon Aug 14 2017

Good hike up above the Izaak Walton Lodge (drive up the road behind the lodge to the trailhead to start). We saw only one other family up at the lake all day. The walk was aggressively steep at times, and very overgrown (mainly thimble berry bushes, but watch out for the occasional devil's club bush) in many areas. It was significantly harder than any other "moderate" rated trail we have done. If you start early on a dewey morning, you might be in for a wet walk. Lake is a picturesque spot for relaxing, or taking a swim (water was cool, but quite swimmable). Lots of small trout rising to take emergers off the surface.

Fri Jul 07 2017

We found the trail to be moderate but there are no signs for it. If you park at the Izaak Walton Lodge (which looks pretty cool). You have to take the metal bridge over the tracks. Not dog friendly especially in the summertime (that metal is very hot). We asked a lodge employee where to find the trail. I think he mistakenly told us to go the wrong way. You can park closer to the trail if you take the next road to the west that says Dickey Creek. Follow that road around to the left and you avoid the Izaak Walton Inn.

Mon Aug 31 2015

One of my favorite hikes for fishing. Very steep but short trail i would rate as difficult. Can be accessed in winter via snowshoes, skis, or snow mobiles offering outstanding ice fishing for large trout.

8 days ago

8 months ago

11 months ago