Pine Creek Lake

HARD 54 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
3635 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

backpacking

camping

hiking

forest

lake

views

waterfall

wild flowers

rocky

1 month ago

BEAUTIFUL

6 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
6 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
6 months ago

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

7 months ago

Very steep, but well worth it.

hiking
7 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!

7 months ago

Amazing views. great hike.

hiking
8 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
8 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.

8 months ago

Tried this trail in May, and still too much snow to reach the lake. The first 6-miles was great! Can't wait to get back and go all the way!!!

hiking
8 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.

8 months ago

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

hiking
9 months ago

Worth every step.

hiking
9 months ago

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.

9 months ago

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
9 months ago

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!

9 months ago

beautiful hike with amazing views at the top!

hiking
9 months ago

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
10 months ago

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

hiking
10 months ago

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

10 months ago

Favorite Montana hike!

camping
Saturday, November 19, 2016

hiking
Friday, August 19, 2016

One of my favorite hikes to date. It's a doozy and as others have said, the mileage in the description is inaccurate. Definitely recommend this hike for the stunning views!

hiking
Tuesday, August 16, 2016

I thinks it's probably 10 miles up and down going up 4000 ft. A good hike and a perfect day of glacial lakes and a descent to paradise valley.

hiking
Thursday, August 11, 2016

The 5.5 mile, 3,400 vertical-foot approach to the lake is filled with sweeping valley views and a series of waterfalls and burn areas. The reward for the long and strenuous hike is one of the most stunning landscapes in Absarokas. Get more details and photos here: www.montanatrailbriefs.com/hikes/pine-creek-lake

Sunday, July 31, 2016

The description of the distance is inaccurate. We were at 5.6 miles from parking lot to Lake. Great day hike!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

trail was well maintained. we brought our dog the first day and didn't make it to the lake, too many dogs off leash and some parts of the trail were too narrow for our pointer.

Returned the next day left the parking area at 1705 make it to the lake at 1915. Sunset was at 2111 and we make it to the car at 2115. Trail is a hard moderate in our opinion. 4.1 miles I don't think is accurate. we clocked just over 5 each way. Don't give up the lake is awesome fed by sister waterfalls.

hiking
Thursday, July 14, 2016

Gorgeous hike, it's NOT easy, OR moderate. Beginner hikers will struggle. Lots of switchbacks. Once you hit the first waterfall, its ALL uphill from there. Took us 3.5 hours to get to the top. Experienced some snow, rain, then descended at 75 degrees and sunny.

hiking
Sunday, July 03, 2016

We loved this trail and wished we'd brought our tent when we saw the beautiful campsite at the top! As other reviewers have said, the trail after the waterfall is steep, but with well-built switchbacks.

camping
Sunday, June 26, 2016

This trail is beautiful but the moderate rating is a bit of an understatement. Especially when you hike up with overnight packs. The incline is pretty steep and the top third of the trail consists of mostly rocky switchbacks. There were a lot of people who were using this as a day hike but it gets much harder with overnight gear. Give yourself some extra time if you have some extra weight.

The trail is currently mostly clear. There was only one part of the trail that was under snow and it was between Jewel Lake and Pine Creek Lake.

Pine Creek is still fairly high so there are a couple times where you need to cross the water carefully. People with trekking poles or hiking sticks seemed to have an easier time. Might want to bring extra socks since we saw a few people drop in the water.

All in all, this is a beautiful hike and the views at the top are amazing. Well worth the moderate/strenuous hike. We camped at Jewel Lake and were alone. There were about five groups at Pine Creek Lake and the alpine tarn and it didn't look like there were many more spots available.

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