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Elk Lake

Easy/Intermediate
  4.0 ( 1 ) Favorite

Trail

6.7 mile 10.7 kilometer out and back
Easy/Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 569' 173 m
Descent: -569' -173 m
High: 6,804' 2,074 m
Low: 6,244' 1,903 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 3% (2°)
Max Grade: 15% (9°)

Dogs

Leashed
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Trail shared by Amber Scott

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

Amber Scott

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

Family Friendly While this might seem like a long day for some wee ones, this is one of the shorter hikes in the area. The tangible end point, easy climbing, and well-built trail make this a good family adventure.

Overview

The hike 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 hike. 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.

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  4.0 from 1 vote

#3655

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  4.0 from 1 vote
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Featured Hike Rankings

#69

in Montana

#3,655

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22 Views Last Month
22 Since Dec 30, 2019
Easy/Intermediate

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Photos

This will be your first glance at Elk Lake heading southeast on The Beaten Path!
Mar 23, 2017 near Red Lodge, MT

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