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Pets allowed
Yes
Elevation Gain
?
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
14.00 mi (22.53 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Hidden within Montana’s picturesque Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness lies Black Canyon Lake, an incredible turquoise glacial lake. The spur hike to the lake turns away many hikers because the trail can be hard to find at times and crosses a large boulder field. For the adventurous, however, Black Canyon Lake can easily become an unforgettable experience.

The first 5 miles of the trail follows the Lake Fork of Rock Creek and lies in the canyon between Silver Run and Hellroaring Plateaus. The lodgepole pine forest brings shade to the trail and provides perfect habitat for wildlife sightings. This section is also popular with hikers and horseback riders.

At about 5 miles in, pass a spur trail to Lost Lake and continue forward until you come to a large footbridge over the creek. On your side of the bridge, you should be able to see an uphill spur trail to your left — take it. Follow the most worn path. If you see a “no campfire” sign, you are on track. At a small, rocky stream crossing not far from the sign, look upstream to see the trail continuing to the left of the creek bed. The trail winds through dense forest and has several fallen trees. The trail does cross the creek again; rock hop your way to the other side. At the onset of the boulder field, let numerous cairns guide you across. Tread slowly and carefully.

At long last, marvel at the beauty of Black Canyon Lake. See Spirit Mountain across the lake with Grasshopper Glacier on its right. This glacier derives its name from millions of extinct grasshoppers embedded in the ice! It is believed the grasshoppers got caught in a storm over the mountains and fell to the glacier, where they became buried in ice over time.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Summer

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

Not Required

Pros

Glacier viewing. Animal sightings. Great views all around.

Cons

Trail sometimes hard to find. Traverse across boulder field.

Trailhead Elevation

7,200.00 ft (2,194.56 m)

Net Elevation Gain

2,012.00 ft (613.26 m)

Address

Lake Fork Rd
Red Lodge, MT 59068
United States

Features

Backcountry camping
Big Game Watching
Wildlife
Big vistas
Fishing
Geologically significant
Big Game Watching

Suitable for

Horseback

Location

Field Guide

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