11 Alpine Lakes That Are Well Worth The Hike (And 1 Lake That You Can Drive To!)
Alpine lakes are a stunning and inspiring thing. They are remote and wild, but also peaceful and pristine at the same time. Filled with crystal-clear water and surrounded by mind-blowing settings, these backcountry bodies of water are meant to be enjoyed.
When you pull out the trusty map of the Madison and Gallatin ranges near Big Sky, it’s exciting to see how many lakes dot the mountainous landscape. Whether they are tucked into deep forests of pines, firs, and aspens or sitting delicately under hanging cirques surrounded by massive boulders, alpine lakes near Big Sky are a delightful backcountry destination.
Hiking to an alpine lake is a rewarding adventure. Most lakes in this area can be reached in a few hours on a day hike, while others are best enjoyed with a wilderness camping trip. Bring your fly rod, because some lakes hold a variety of fish like cutthroat trout or grayling. Others are the perfect place for a refreshing dip. Or maybe you’ll find a lake where you’ll set up camp and watch the Montana stars twinkle off the reflective surface. You need to visit these enchanting places. They will change your life.
There’s no doubt about it – alpine lakes are a magical feature of Big Sky’s backyard. They may require a bit of effort to reach them, but it’s well worth it.
Below you’ll find a selection of some of our absolute favorite alpine lakes near Big Sky:
Lava Lake | Photo: AMountainJourney.com
Alp Lake | Photo A MountainJourney.com
Golden Trout Lakes
Golden Trout Lakes | Photo: AMountainJourney.com
Hidden Lakes | Photo: D. Lennon
Spanish Lakes & Beehive Lake
Beehive Lake and Spanish Lakes | Photo: AMountainJourney.com
The Unnamed Lake In Beehive Basin
Unnamed Lake in Beehive Basin | Photo: AMountainJourney.com
Summit Lake | Photo: AMountainJourney.com
Albino Lake | Photo: AMountainJourney.com
Dudley Lake | Photo: AMountainJourney.com
Expedition Lake | Photo: AMountainJourney.com
Are there other inspirational alpine lakes in Big Sky Country? You bet! Don’t miss Deer Lake, Moon Lake, Echo Lake, Ramshorn Lake, Jerome Rock Lakes, Chilled Lakes, Thompson Lake, Mirror Lake, Dutchman Lake, Hilgard Lake, No Man Lake, Cedar Lake, Diamond Lake, Rat Lake, and the list goes on!
Pick up a local Big Sky Guidebook to discover even more alpine lakes!
Which of these alpine lakes near Big Sky are you going to venture to first? Share your alpine lake photos with the Big Sky community and the world via social media with #visitbigsky.
If you’re not keen to hike into the backcountry, but you still want to enjoy lake life, take a short and scenic drive to see Cliff and Wade Lakes. Wow!
Wade Lake | Photo: D. Lennon