Mystic Lake via New World Gulch Trail

EASY 14 reviews
#37 of 94 trails in

Mystic Lake via New World Gulch Trail is a 10.9 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Bozeman, Montana that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

10.9 miles
2,047 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly


cross country skiing


nature trips

trail running





wild flowers



4 months ago

Our main reason for hiking this trail was to find the shortest route to Mystic Lake, thinking it was only ten miles. But we somehow clocked 14 miles because we actually hiked to where the lake currently was, not the northern most point where it might reach during very high water. And the elevation change is deceptive because there is a lot of up and down - 160 flights of stairs according to my Apple Watch. Even in mid-August, the trail was very muddy in many areas and had a few slippery creek or low-point crossings. So, it was a tough hike with the mud and hills, but the lake is very pretty. Wildflowers were essentially done.

6 months ago

New World Gulch has plenty of great features including creeks, meadows, plenty of wildflowers, and ends up at Mystic Lake. There is also a rentable forest service cabin at the lake. There are a few steep places, one small section in particular that can be difficult to keep your footing. There are also a few creek crossings. You’ll eventually end up on a closed forest service road that’ll take you down to the lake.

The hike is not too difficult, but there is also nothing to really make it stand out among the other area lake hikes. When I did it back in June, the lake was unusually low (especially for the snowpack that we had this season). There is also a closed road coming up sourdough canyon that’ll take you to the lake which takes away from the natural surroundings a little in my opinion, though it’d probably be a great cross country sky trek in the winter.

If you are really looking for a hike, head back down from the lake by cutting over to Bear Canyon! You’ll come out at the Bear Canyon Trailhead which is just 1/4 mile from The New World Gulch Trailhead. You’ll get to see a few more secluded ponds and lakes along the way, but you’ll end up hiking nearly 20 miles round-trip. Also, be careful hiking at dusk or at night; there is plenty of mountain lion scat to be found on the trail.

Overall, this does make a good day hike or could also make for good backpacking; and the lake is pretty great when it’s full. It’s minutes from Bozeman and easy to access. Personally, if you want a Great Lake hike, I’d check out the Hyalite Lake or Emerald/Heather Lake hikes up Hyalite canyon.

9 months ago

Went a few miles back yesterday, trail is pretty packed down and slick from skiers, so make sure to wear ice grips.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Did it a couple of days ago, still muddy but manageable! Good hike.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Yes, muddy but great hike. Did it today. Perfect weather.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

beware of mud right now! went about 3.5 miles in treacherous mud. would probably be a great trail outside of spring mud season

Thursday, July 30, 2015

manageable hike, can be steep at times, but often levels out. went all the way to the lake (approx 5-6 miles, depending on which trail you take to get to the lake) and went back the same way. plenty of water along trail for dogs. saw rising trout, but didn't bring fly rod-- curious otters would have prevented successful fishing today anyway, one followed us around the entire lake :) at steady pace with a long lunch break took approx 6.5 hours

Monday, April 21, 2014

Did this trail in the summer. I would rate it a moderate hike. The distance is manageable, but there are some parts of this trail that can be rather rigorous. Keep an eye out for wildlife. Passed within 100 yds of a calf moose (he was on the other side of the creek and never saw us, thankfully). Mystic Lake and Mystic Lake Forest Service cabin are at the end of this out and back trail. Return via the same trail. Remember your fly rod, Mystic Lake and feeder creeks are teeming w/ Cutthroat and Rainbows (and of course Cut-Bow hybrids).

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Popular in the winter with backcountry skiers. Good peaceful trail. One could go to mystic lake as well

5 months ago

5 months ago

7 months ago

11 months ago

Sunday, June 05, 2016