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