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Lava Lake Trail

Intermediate
  4.7 ( 15 ) Favorite

Trail

5.7 mile 9.1 kilometer out and back
71% Runnable
Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 1,581' 482 m
Descent: -1,579' -481 m
High: 7,103' 2,165 m
Low: 5,532' 1,686 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 11% (6°)
Max Grade: 21% (12°)

Dogs

Leashed
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Trail shared by samh Haraldson

A popular 5.7 mile out-and-back run close to both Bozeman and Big Sky.

samh Haraldson

Features Birding · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Overview

This is a popular trail, but for good reason. It's is a good, solid workout with a wonderful, calm lake at the end to sit, relax, and appreciate the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem of the Gallatin Valley. Because the trail is mostly shaded and is always close to water, this is an excellent option for a summer run.

Description

The trail, also known as Cascade Creek, is wide at many points allowing runners to move at their own pace without being held up, or holding others up. The trail is popular with all ages and types of people from trail runners, to meanderers, to hunters, and even the occasional skier in winter.

Starting from the trailhead along the Gallatin River, make your way into dense coniferous forest on wide tread, following alongside Cascade Creek—keep an eye out for many small waterfalls along the way. The elevation gain for the first three quarters of the length of the trail is mellow but a good workout. Savor the micro scenery along the way. The last quarter of the trail is along switchbacks, but they are worth the workout. Reach the top and find yourself treated to the expansive Lava Lake nestled in among its mountainous surroundings.

At the lake, explore the perimeter, but be sure to stay on maintained trails—this is a fairly popular run, so be respectful of the area.

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Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 15 votes

#472

Overall
  4.7 from 15 votes
5 Star
80%
4 Star
13%
3 Star
7%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Featured Run Rankings

#12

in Montana

#472

Overall
43 Views Last Month
3,769 Since Apr 23, 2015
Intermediate

0%
36%
21%
36%
7%
0%

Photos

Lava Lake Trail
Jan 18, 2018 near Big Sky, MT
Trail leading to Lava Lake. This is in early May.
May 16, 2015 near Big Sky, MT
Lava Lake
Apr 23, 2015 near Big Sky, MT
Lava Lake trail is a great trail.
May 16, 2015 near Big Sky, MT
View of Lava Lake in early May.
May 16, 2015 near Big Sky, MT

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