Trail Run Project Logo

Elk Lake

Intermediate
 4.5 (2) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

An easy, out-and-back run along an absurdly scenic valley to a beautiful lake complete with waterfalls and wildlife.


Your Rating:      Clear Rating
Your Difficulty:
Your Favorites: Add to Favorites · Your List
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

6.7

Miles

10.7

KM

97%

Runnable

6,804' 2,074 m

High

6,244' 1,903 m

Low

569' 173 m

Up

569' 173 m

Down

3%

Avg Grade (2°)

15%

Max Grade (9°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Birding · Commonly Backpacked · Fall Colors · Fishing · Geological Significance · Lake · River/Creek · Swimming · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Overview

The run out to Elk Lake is a perfect day hike or easy run. Given the Montana norms, this route barely climbs at all, and the trail is smooth and easy to follow. Or, if you're feeling inspired and have plenty of time and energy, continue onwards, deeper into the mountains, along the renowned Beaten Path. But really, no matter how long you end up going, the mountains, lakes, meadows, and waterfalls make this trail a guaranteed stunner.

Description

From Alpine, continue south on East Rosebud Road until the road ends at the East Rosebud Trailhead. The well-marked and well-maintained East Rosebud Trail begins by winding its way along the southeastern edge of East Rosebud Lake. The trail continues to meander along the bottom of the valley, crossing through meadows, generally paralleling East Rosebud Creek—complete with numerous, small waterfalls. A fire in 1966 cleared much of the vegetation, so the views of the surrounding cliffs and peaks are almost unobstructed the entire route.

Elk Lake makes a perfect place to stop for a snack before returning if you're out for just a shorter run. There aren't a ton of camping spots, so either plan on arriving early in the day or be ready to go deeper into the mountains—just always remember to camp responsibly and respectfully!

Flora & Fauna

Moose, elk, and deer frequent this area, so keep an eye out (especially with the intent of not startling moose) and respect all wildlife by keeping a safe distance. Also, bears. If you're visiting, be sure to do your research on how to appropriately travel in bear country.

Elk Lake has limited fishing opportunities, so if that's your goal, consider heading father into the mountains to Rimrock Lake.

Contacts

Shared By:

Amber Scott

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 2 votes

#2378

Overall
  4.5 from 2 votes
5 Star
50%
4 Star
50%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#56

in Montana

#2,378

Overall
219 Views Last Month
1,280 Since Dec 30, 2019
Intermediate

0%
0%
100%
0%
0%
0%

Photos

Near the East Rosebud Trailhead
Aug 13, 2020 near Red Lodge, MT
This will be your first glance at Elk Lake heading southeast on The Beaten Path!
Mar 23, 2017 near Red Lodge, MT

0 Comments

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
All Clear 78 days ago See History
Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

none