Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
1,300.00 ft (396.24 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
16.25 mi (26.15 km)
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Jasper Lake is a remote backcountry body of water deep in the Beartooth Mountains, accessible from the Beartooth Highway. Expect to see fewer crowds than other popular spots encountered along the eight-mile journey to Jasper. The trail climbs over 1,200 feet with a starting elevation of over a mile-and-a-half above sea level. 

Two trailheads on the Wyoming side of Beartooth Pass offer optional starting points to reach Jasper Lake. Located four miles apart, Beartooth Lake Trailhead and Island Lake Trailhead rival eachother in for mountain scenery and splendor. 

Island Lake Trailhead offers a shorter hike and less elevation gain. Beartooth Lake Trailhead, as this description follows, is a bit more of an uphill effort. But like any hike in High Lake country, every step is rewarded with inspiring views. 

Hikers at Beartooth Lake Trailhead immediately encounter a great view of Beartooth Butte high above the water. From the panoramic trailhead, the hike heads into the forest quickly to start the climb. This initial uphill endeavor is well shaded for the hot days of summer, and portions of the hike are steep enough to generate some sweat no matter the forecast. 

At just over two miles of uphill hiking, hikers encounter Swan Lake. This beautiful high alpine lake has a brilliant rock face abutting the shores and inviting waters for a swim. Don’t be too distracted by this beautiful water body, though, as it’s only a starter for what’s to come. 

Just down the trail from Swan Lake, the massive shores of Beauty Lake come into view. This huge alpine lake is remarkable in its size, a size which you'll get to know well, as the trail hugs the eastern shore. After Beauty Lake, the trail continues up a steep uphill portion until reaching an unmarked junction. 

This junction continues on the most trodden path to the Island Lake Trailhead. Veering to the left are trails to Becker and Albino Lakes, and further up, Jasper Lake. The trail to Becker Lake, Albino Lake, and Jasper Lake is not an official Forest Service designated route. However, the trail itself is clear to follow the entire way, only getting fainter from Albino Lake to Jasper Lake. 

The hike to Becker and Albino Lakes will likely inspire future plans to revisit Beartooth High Lakes country. These two bodies of water are both massive and surrounded by spectacular mountain backdrops. Elevation gains are minimal between the two lakes, but noticeable, as the trail navigates well over 10,000 feet. 

From Albino Lake, this “unofficial” trail starts to become a little harder to follow. The trail navigates around the southern bank of Albino Lake, heading west, and then continues along the western shore. After reaching the north shore of Albino Lake, the hike zig-zags over a small pass and small rock gardens to reach Jasper Lake.  As soon as Jasper Lake comes into full view, so does Golden Lake immediately to the west. The landscape's remoteness brings to question just how many humans have made it back here?

Backpackers can pitch a tent here, away from the water, or go back down the trail to Albino Lake to camp at a slightly lower elevation. Day hikers can find the time to catch their breath and enjoy the views before starting their return hike down to the trailhead.

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Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Fall
Summer

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

No

Open from

July 01 to September 30

Days

2

Pros

Multiple stunning lakes. Minimal elevation gain. Constant vistas.

Cons

Mosquitoes in early season.

Trailhead Elevation

8,925.00 ft (2,720.34 m)

Highest point

10,194.00 ft (3,107.13 m)

Features

Vault toilet
Near lake or river
Glacier
Backcountry camping
Wildlife
Fishing
Big vistas
Big Game Watching
Wildflowers
Bird watching

Typically multi-day

Yes

Permit required

No

Location

Nearby Lodging + Camping

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