Rock Lake Trail is a 8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Trout Creek, Montana that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
8.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,784 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

over grown

rocky

Bears have been seen in this area so you will want to use caution, make smart food choices, and bring bear spray. The hike from the beginning of the trail head to the waterfall is a relatively easy hike with smooth paths, easy inclines, and nothing daunting for the casual hiker. The hike from the waterfall to the lake is a bit more challenging. About 20 meters from the waterfall, there is a trail heading eastward up the mountain. You might miss it at first, because you are looking at the AWESOME waterfall ahead. The trail is a switchback with some considerable elevation gain from the waterfall to the lake. The views from this point on are just amazing! The lake and surrounding mountains are stunningly beautiful. Along the way there are some fun water crossings including a great bridge. There are some amazing views along the way and a nice waterfall. Also be sure to check out the old mine next to the waterfall on your way up. There is a nice campground when you reach the lake, but there is also a second camping area at the opposite end of the lake. To get there you have to cross the stream that empties out of the lake and trek around the lake to the second camp ground. This camping spot is great and a little more protected if the weather is bad. Also, bring some fishing gear and you'll be able to catch some nice cutthroats for dinner!

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked this trail over Labor Day 2018. Perfect day, 74 degrees and partly cloudy. About 2.5 miles to the waterfall/old mine which is a good place to break for lunch. Mild to moderate trail incline to this location. We continued to the lake and this is where the trail gets steeper, but the views on the way up and the lake are well worth the additional 2.5 miles.

hiking
1 month ago

We hiked this in light rain. The leaves are started to turn their autumn colors. I'd say in another week or two, it should be full autumn at Rock Lake. By the way, the hike is just under 10 miles in and out.

2 months ago

The trail description is incorrect! It's about 3 1/2 (easy) miles to the waterfall and Heildleberg mine, not sure how many miles (2?) from there to the lake but that is where you will encounter the elevation gain. I've sent Altrails a suggestion to edit the info.

backpacking
2 months ago

This is a stunning hike. Our Garmin recorded 5mi each way. Trail is as described by others. We were able to get there in our Prius, road is rocky and potholed but with care it's doable. There is a camp just before the trailhead on the left that has space and horse hitches. Plenty of room for cars and trailers, no drop toilet at trailhead. There's a few wooded group camps along the way and a spot right by the falls. Camping at the lake is tricky if there are others there. Like others said, cross the creek and there's a rugged trail you can follow, it's pretty overgrown but there are a few other spots. Bring a hammock too for more options, there isn't much flat ground. Lake is great to swim in. The group next to us caught 4 fish. Hang your food. Great hike, only downside is lack of flat ground at the lake.

hiking
3 months ago

Hiked to Rock Lake on August 6, 2018. First, the trail is not 2.7 miles - even one way. My GPS clocked it as 9.6 out and back, with a total elevation gain of 3,100 feet. This is from the gate on F-150A. The first three miles is an old mining road with a steady, gradual incline. The swampy area along the way is perfect for Moose. We believe we heard one but never saw it. And although we never saw a bear, there was enough fresh scat on the trail to keep us aware they were around.

The falls at the three-mile mark is beautiful. There is plenty of old mining equipment around. At this point, the trail makes a dramatic change. Just before you reach the falls, the trail makes a sneaky right, up the mountain. You'll probably pass it along the way. After you admire the falls for a bit, turn around, walk about 15 yards and the trail will be on your left.

For the next mile, you will switch back your way up 1,000 feet in elevation to the lake. I hike, often, so this wasn't hard for me, but those of us who weren't used to the climb had to take a few breaks.

The lake is beautiful. As you arrive, there are two camping spots. I crossed the creek and discovered a nice trail along the left side of the lake. I have read that there is a campsite on the other side of the lake, as well. The trail is not what I would call difficult. We had kids with us as young as ten and they did very well.

This is August, so the afternoons can be hot. I suggest that you start early. We were on the trail for 6.5 hours. That includes lunch and tooling around - five hours actually hiking. Bring bear spray and a little bug spray as well. Some of us got bit a couple of times. By the way, there was little if any smoke.

We did this as a day hike, but I could easily pack it in and stay two or three nights. There are several great peaks to explore and I have heard the fishing ain't bad, either. Me, I could take my Bible and my journal, have a seat on one of those rocks and be content for the day.

This hike was number 85 for me this year. It will certainly end up as one of my top 10 in 2018!

camping
3 months ago

So beautiful!
You get to hike by the stream and then you can swim just below a waterfall, and all on your way up!
Me and my friend camped for 1 night by the lake and it was so perfect! Plus tons of huckleberries to eat on your way up! We also got to see s mamma goat and her two babies!
would definitely recommend this trail!

hiking
3 months ago

About half way up there is a gorgeous waterfall. I thought kids could do the hike to the falls, after that the trail gets more difficult with uneven rockiness, switchbacks and cliffs. The views from the falls to the lake are stunning and there were lots of huckleberries to pick along the way and plenty of shade for rest. The lake is cold and a welcome reward at the top. We didn’t hike up and around the lake, but next time I want to. We had a big group and didn’t see any bears, but we were told it’s grizzly country by the lady at the nearby gas station.

backpacking
3 months ago

I went with my two Labs on an overnight. The weather was dry with temps in the upper 80's. The trail is an old road for the first 3 miles or so. The last section is a trail with switchbacks to the lake. There was plenty of water on this trip between springs, wet meadows and creeks. Perfect for dogs on a hot day. Just before the trail to the lake is an old mine site and a gorgeous waterfall. We reached the lake in late afternoon. The lake is a long one with steep walls of rock surrounding it. There is a campground at the foot of the lake that is capable of supporting 4 - 5 tents. It is the only campsite on the lake. We set up our tent and had a nice leisurely evening. The next morning we took a trip around to the head of the lake on the west side. This entails crossing the creek. I did not find it until our return but if you follow the creek down a little way there is a log jam so you can cross with dry feet. The social trail goes to the head of the lake and through St. Paul pass to St. Paul lake to the North. We did not go all the way to the pass but the trail is navigable. The day was hot enough that I wanted to get down the hot switchbacks before temps really ramped up for the day. I saw a mountain goat, and some dippers at the lake. There were quite a few fish jumping in the water. This would make a very good day hike. It was a fun trip. I'd do it again.

hiking
5 months ago

Very beautiful trail and great scenic views! walking to the lake is worth it because of the views, not so much the lake. I recommend bringing extra shoes!

Monday, September 04, 2017

Awesome trip! We backpacked in on 9/1/17 and did an overnight. Only wildlife was a bull moose across the creek at lower trail. The lake is well worth the incline of the last 2.5 miles. Great campsite by the lake. We had it to ourselves. Beautiful - beautiful make sure you get this ecoerienxe

Sunday, August 06, 2017

8 miles round trip. Pretty steep.

Monday, June 19, 2017

This out and back proved to be just under 10 miles round trip. One of my favorites so far. I want to come back and stay a night in a tent beside the lake. Waterfalls, River Crossings, Stream Wading, an old abandoned mine, and of course the alpine lake. This hike has it all!! Definitely a challenge on the vertical climb.

hiking
Tuesday, September 27, 2016

I completed this hike in late September. The color of the autumn leaves, and the scent in the air, was magical!

Think of this as two different hikes. The hike from the beginning of the trail head to the waterfall is a relatively easy hike with smooth paths, easy inclines, and nothing daunting for the casual hiker. The hike from the waterfall to the lake is a bit more challenging. About 20 meters from the waterfall, there is a trail heading eastward up the mountain. You might miss it at first, because you are looking at the AWESOME waterfall ahead. The trail is a switchback with some considerable elevation gain from the waterfall to the lake. The views from this point on are just amazing! The lake and surrounding mountains are stunningly beautiful.

I was hiking alone, and met a black bear coming down the trail. I moved aside, and it moved aside, and we got past each other without incident. (This is a grizzly habitat, so you might bring some bear spray and leave your picnic basket at home.)

The hike from the waterfall to the lake is well worth the effort to get to the top. This hike is going on to my list of favorites.

backpacking
Friday, July 01, 2016

Great hike. Lots of viewpoints. A couple of mining buildings 5-6 bridges and a couple of water crossings without bridges. Extra pair of shoes was helpful. Day hikers saw a baby grizzly earlier in the day we only saw traces. Oh and only smart dog owners please. Not a fun way to end a hike. Enough said. 4 miles into the hike there is an amazing waterfall and old mining shaft. Kyle thanks so much for the tip on retracing and finding the trail on the side of the mountain. This is where the trail moves from mild to moderate. You gain a fair amount of altitude in the last 1.5 miles . I had a separate app running and it had a total of 11 miles out and back instead of the listed 10. It is worth every step. We had the lake to ourselves and this was on a weekend.

hiking
Thursday, March 06, 2014

This is a great hike, moderate difficulty. Along the way there are some fun water crossings including a great bridge. There are some amazing views along the way and a nice waterfall. Also be sure to check out the old mine next to the waterfall on your way up. There is a nice campground when you reach the lake, but there is also a second camping area at the opposite end of the lake. To get there you have to cross the stream that empties out of the lake and trek around the lake to the second camp ground. This camping spot is great and a little more protected if the weather is bad. Also, bring some fishing gear and you'll be able to catch some nice cutthroats for dinner!

hiking
Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Pretty nice hike was raining most the way in but if u wait for a dry sunny day in the northwest youll miss out on a ton of opportunities. Pretty slow goin the begining portion with a few waterfalls to be seen thro the trees and then after passing thro a silent meadow it starts going steeply up hill then u hit the falls and a mine on rock creek pretty cool place to stop. The majority of the elevation gain is the last quarter mile you may miss the trail heading the rest the way up do to the distraction of a gourgeous water fall if so dont fret just back track about 65 yards from the falls and ull see a narrow trail heading uphill that will take you to a gourgeous lake thro the majority of elevation gain. once up at the lake we were amazed to find there was no wind or rain but if u look off to the sides ull notice that the small basin ur in allows for the wind and rain to go around u instead of coming down on you. A larger group would want to stay at one of the 2 camp sites along the way a s the site at the lake is only really big enough to accomidate four tents.

hiking
Tuesday, August 08, 2017

hiking
Saturday, July 01, 2017

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

backpacking
Sunday, June 26, 2016