Pine Creek Lake

HARD 68 reviews

Pine Creek Lake is a 9.2 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Livingston, Montana that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, and backpacking and is best used from July until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
9.2 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3,635 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

backpacking

camping

hiking

forest

lake

views

waterfall

wild flowers

rocky

hiking
3 days ago

Hard Hike up but amazing when you get up there like you are in a different world. The hike back down is the worse though. Best hike ever!

4 days ago

It’s a hard hike up to the top but it is very much worth the effort.

hiking
4 days ago

The best hardest hike I’ve ever done but so worth it! We went up and back the same day. It’s a well traveled trail so I wasn’t as concerned about the bear presence. Take your walking poles!

hiking
13 days ago

This is an excellent hike! After the initial waterfall, you’ll see a fast-flowing creek cascading down the canyon as well as a few more falls (one of which is even more impressive than Pine Creek Falls). You’ll also get great views of the peaks and the canyon from above. 5 miles in, you’ll reach the massive Pine Creek Lake.

The trail is rocky the whole way and gets steep after the falls. It also gets pretty overgrown at a creek crossing this time of year which can make it difficult to find the correct place to cross.

It is a moderately difficult trail with some particularly steep/rocky spots, but this hike is well worth the workout! If you don’t mind breaking a sweat, you can make it from the trailhead to the lake in 2 hours and make it back out in 1.5.

hiking
14 days ago

Definitely a challenge but great hike overall. Took us about 3.5 hours up and 2 down.

15 days ago

Great hike and great views. Fun spot to backpack

hiking
21 days ago

Great Hike with spectacular views. I would recommend to anyone wanting to feel what Montana really offers.

The hike from the trailhead to Pike Creek Lake showed approximately 11.5 miles round trip through my Garmin.

Cheers!

25 days ago

Pine Creek Lake is a world class hike. It doesn't get much better than this! Best of the best!

hiking
26 days ago

Well worth it, but uphill switchbacks the whole way so prepare yourself. There is a river crossing - we brought water shoes for this part and it was a reasonable enough crossing. It gets much steeper after the river, and there are no signs except for the first sign at the beginning (that we saw) but trail is pretty established. We stopped at the first lake thinking that we had arrived -- checked the map when we got home and we were actually a half mile shy from the actual Pine Creek lake, which seems like an even steeper climb. Very, very tough, but gorgeous -- felt like I was in the Tetons, and only a short drive from our home in Livingston.

hiking
2 months ago

I've attempted this hike twice, once in mid-April and also in mid-May. April is not recommended without snowshoes or skis as the snow passages are brutal. Once crossing the falls, the verticals and angle are for advanced climbers only. Descending is rough! May is doable, but getting to the lake is also impossible without snowshoes! One can get above the lake on the West side for the view of the falls and lake, but loose snowpack (especially this winter) makes approaching it too treacherous. Awesome hike! It took me 2.5 hours up and the same down although I was moving pretty quick.

4 months ago

BEAUTIFUL

9 months ago

Best hike I've done to date. Not an easy one but worth it once you get to the top and your the only one up there. Above average hiking boots recommended. When the sun goes down, it's gets pretty cold up there!

hiking
9 months ago

Nice snowy hike. Enjoy the solitude after the falls. The temperature swing over the last ridge during a snow storm can be quite drastic.

hiking
9 months ago

Favorite hike in Montana. The lake is a true treasure at the end. Felt like Scotland.

10 months ago

Very steep, but well worth it.

hiking
10 months ago

Definitely one of the best hikes I've done, with some incredible views throughout - with the very best being the lake! I would love to do this again as a backpacking trip, it would be awesome to have stayed at the lake longer than we did!

10 months ago

Amazing views. great hike.

hiking
11 months ago

It was a BEAUTIFUL hike!! But I will admit, my husband and I only went two-thirds of the way before turning back. I'm 6 months pregnant and this was his first mountain hike (the elevation in our hometown is only about 1100ft) and he was carrying all of our water and food for the day. It was pretty grueling with all the switchbacks and whatnot, but I think we could've made it if we really wanted to, even with me being 6 months pregnant and somewhat out of shape; we just would've felt pretty crappy by the end. So if you're not pregnant I'd say your chances are pretty solid! Just be ready for a serious calf workout. ;)

hiking
11 months ago

This review is a year late! This is a must do hike if you are ever in paradise valley. We did this up to the lake but snow and time kept us off the surrounding summits. I am from the east and we have high mountain lakes too but not at this scale. Truly an amazing place to behold after a nice workout to get there. Later in our trip we also hiked Emigrant Peak, no lake at the top but a feeling of being on top of the world worked for us :). Can't wait to get back to Montana some day.

backpacking
11 months ago

Great area to hike, fish, and camp. Will be going back very soon

hiking
11 months ago

Pretty challenging hike. I'm surprised it's rated as "moderate." The lake as a goal for the ascent is appropriate as it's beautiful.

11 months ago

One of my favorite in the State for scenery and for a challenge.

hiking
Friday, July 21, 2017

Worth every step.

hiking
Tuesday, July 18, 2017

This hike was very challenging but extremely rewarding. Went with a group of 4 with various levels of hiking experience but all pretty fit and it took us about 4.5 hours to reach the upper lake. (We were not used to the altitude so it took awhile). The hike up is very steep, lots of switch backs but doable with some short breaks to take in the scenery. The lake at the top is truly breathtaking. Bring a fly rod up for some fishing in the little streams off of the main lake. A difficult hike with the elevation climb to say the least but absolutely worth it.

Monday, July 17, 2017

This is one of my favorite hikes to date. Very steep hike, what a work out! But wow, the lake is amazing at the top. Don't stop at the first small lake, go on up above it. We almost turned around. The views up there are absolutely amazing!!

hiking
Wednesday, July 12, 2017

This is an absolutely beautiful trail, but not for the faint of heart. I would rate it as hard, as it is 5.5 miles straight up, then 5.5 miles straight down. Even inch of it is worth it, though, especially once you've reached the top for a relaxing lunch by the serene lake. The first 3 miles or so have decent tree coverage. There is also one precarious creek crossing, made easier by crawling across a tree on all fours, having hiking poles to steady you on the trees, or by having waterproof shoes to forage across. This was a great hike, just be ready to be sore!

Saturday, July 08, 2017

beautiful hike with amazing views at the top!

hiking
Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Absolutely stunning hike almost the entire way through. On 6/26 there was minimal snow, but the final lake itself was still about 75% covered in ice - open enough for fishing, though. The hike isn't difficult in the sense that their are any challenging features, but you are climbing about 4000 ft in 5 miles so it is a workout.

backpacking
Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Beautiful hike but difficult for beginners. Loved camping up there too because I was too tired to walk back down 

hiking
Sunday, June 11, 2017

Definitely a difficult hike. Still a lot snow but well worth it for the views!

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