Lava Lake Trail

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Lava Lake, Bozeman, Lee Metcalf Wilderness

11 miles (round-trip)

Duration: 3 to 5 hours

Difficulty: Moderate

Elevation Gain: 1,600 feet 

Activities: Hiking, fishing, camping, swimming

Crowds: Heavy traffic


This trail (aka, Cascade Creek) begins at the Gallatin River, across from the big pull-out at the 35 MPH Bridge. The rocky trail follows Cascade Creek through a thick evergreen forest, continuing past a few waterfalls to a forest-lined lake surrounded by rock walls and treeless mountaintops. Rocks along the trail can make the hike a bit more strenuous than a singletrack, but the views and the lake at the end make the hike well worth the time. Be sure to carry bear spray. 

Seasonal Conditions
This is a great hike on a hot summer day, especially if you enjoy a cold but refreshing swim. During the spring, the trail can be slippery, but it's still a great time to go. Hikers take to this trail in the winter, too; just be sure you've got proper grip for hardpack and ice. 

Take Hwy. 191 south into Gallatin Canyon. A few miles past the Storm Castle turnoff, look for a signed entrance on the right, just before the bridge.

Robert Stone's Lava Lake Trail Map

Map courtesy of Robert Stone's Day Hikes Around Bozeman, Montana

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