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A gorgeous trail to a series of alpine lakes nestled in a granite cirque.


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Map Key

10.4

Miles

16.7

KM

69%

Runnable

9,022' 2,750 m

High

5,653' 1,723 m

Low

3,391' 1,034 m

Up

3,391' 1,034 m

Down

12%

Avg Grade (7°)

41%

Max Grade (22°)

Dogs Off-leash

Features Birding · Geological Significance · Lake · River/Creek · Swimming · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers

Overview

Getting to Pine Creek Lake makes for a long day filled with lots of climbing, but the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness delivers with waterfalls and lakes tucked into a rocky basin.

Runner Notes

Mostly good, even trail with some cobbles.

Description

From the parking lot, the trail starts off passing through a mix of old, burnt-out forest and some thick stands of trees. About a mile in, you come to the first waterfall which is where most parties turn around.

The next mile switchbacks its way up the hill until you come to a broad alpine valley that is filled with flowers in the right season. Rock hop across the river and don't follow the trail that stays to the right. Continue pushing uphill, gaining 1,800 feet in a 1.3 miles until the trail flattens out as it hugs a pretty stream.

You arrive at the first of lakes (it can be buggy it the right season and without wind) which lies at the base of a waterfall and large stone wall. More switchbacks head up the side of the cliff until you top out at a small pristine lake. Pass along the right side to arrive at Pine Creek Lake proper.

Contacts

Shared By:

Russell Hobart

Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 19 votes

#517

Overall
  4.7 from 19 votes
5 Star
74%
4 Star
26%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#13

in Montana

#517

Overall
12 Views Last Month
6,636 Since Jul 19, 2018
Difficult Difficult

0%
0%
12%
18%
71%
0%

Photos

The trip back down
Jul 30, 2021 near Livingston, MT
Pine Creek Falls Crossing
Dec 23, 2019 near Livingston, MT
View of the valley
Dec 23, 2019 near Livingston, MT
Looking down on the first alpine lake
Jul 21, 2018 near Livingston, MT
12/23/2019. The trail is no longer packed down at about mile 3, just after crossing pine creek, where this photo was taken.
Dec 23, 2019 near Livingston, MT
Verdant summer on Pine Creek
Jul 20, 2018 near Livingston, MT

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