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Lava Lake Trail

Intermediate

Trail

2.9 mile 4.6 kilometer point to point
Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 1,636' 499 m
Descent: -45' -14 m
High: 7,113' 2,168 m
Low: 5,522' 1,683 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 11% (6°)
Max Grade: 22% (12°)

Dogs

Leashed
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Trail shared by samh Haraldson

A popular hike close to both Bozeman and Big Sky.

samh Haraldson

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

Description

This is a popular trail, but for good reason. It 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.

Trail tread is wide at many points allowing hikers 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. The elevation gain for the first 3/4 of the length of the hike is mellow but a good workout. Savor the micro scenery along the way. The last 1/4 of the hike 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 continue off-trail along the left-hand side to find some solitude or just rest at the foot of the lake with the other hikers who are undoubtedly out enjoying this fine place alongside you.

Hiked this trail?

We need help with the following missing trail information:

Family Friendly, ADA Accessible, Need to Know, Flora & Fauna

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Check-Ins

Aug 18, 2019
Chris Regan
First hike!! And this place is beautiful! — 8h 00m
Jul 28, 2019
Rachel Augustine
With Abby! 5.8mi — 3h 14m
Jul 19, 2019
Robert Stephens
Jul 18, 2019
W Helfand
5.9mi — 3h 40m
Jun 20, 2019
Liz Siddle
Surprise snowfall once we reached Lava Lake! Magical. Really nice trail. 5.8mi
May 30, 2019
Eric Harrill
5.8mi
May 12, 2019
Jay Bird
Lots of snow the last 3/4 mile. The lake was still mostly frozen. Somewhat muddy on the trail. Beautiful views at the lake.
Jun 25, 2018
Truli Powell
Took all three kids. Uphill and challenging for the youngest but worth the hike to the lake. Return trip was nice and easy.

Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 15 votes

#181

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

#5

in Montana

#181

Overall
106 Views Last Month
3,666 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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