Lava Lake (Cascade Creek)

#1 of 277 trails in Gallatin National Forest

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The Lava Lake (Cascade Creek) trail is a 6 mile, moderately rated, out and back trail that climbs 1600 ft to a beautiful lake setting that is surrounded by the Spanish Peaks. Located 30 min south of Bozeman, MT, the trail is primarily used for hiking and is easily accessible from May until Oct.

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Chase Humphrey (43)

1 Completed1 Reviews

Great trail, was just up there last weekend with the dogs. A bit muddy in spots, plenty of water sources along the way. Camping around lake but there is a buffer. Beautiful destination.

Preston Smith (631)

15 Completed14 Reviews

My wife and I made this beautiful hike later in the year before the snow came. The first mile is a steady increase, the second mile is a little flatter and the last mile is a steady increase. The trail is in great with 2 steam crossings without a bridge.

The hike itself follows Cascade Creek and is beautiful and green... their aren't many views on the hike but the view of Lava Lake is beautiful. Going later in the year provided some nice snow capped mountains in the background.

My wife and I did the whole hike in 2.5 hours.

max nelson (68)

3 Completed3 Reviews

hiked this in the end of october around 3:00 in the afternoon, walked at good rate with a few breaks here and there with about a half hour break at the top, finished a little before 6. cool lake at the top that you can easily walk around, fun hike.

Cody S. (78)

3 Completed3 Reviews

This has to be my favorite hike so far. It is pretty strenuous, heading straight up almost the whole way. The trail was well maintained with only a couple small downed trees blocking the way. Saw probably 15-20 people throughout the hike leaving or going toward the lake. The trail flattened out a few times and we thought we were there but we were far from it still. It was well worth it when we got to the top.

Becky J. (43)

This is an amazing hike! You have to do it, but be prepared you will be hiking straight up and quite a few switchbacks as you get closer to the lake. Well well well worth it! It would be nice if they were markers letting hikers know how much further they have to go to get to the lake


1 Completed1 Reviews

This was my first hike (9/20/2014) after moving to Bozeman.

I had a major user error and tried to use lightweight, but steel-toed Keens to hike this despite usually hiking trails like this with FiveFingers. Heel rip!! Don't believe the "it's really rocky" posts.

The trail itself is pretty mid-weight. It is up about 97% of the way which makes a normal hike a bit longer heading in as opposed to heading out. Nothing is super steep, but there are some switchbacks closer to the lake and the trail does cross a few creeks/brooks which might pose more a Spring-time challenge.

The reward is the top when you get to the lake. If you are like me this is not where you stop. When you see the peaks and the crumble you scurry and boulder hop up. If it is a weekend I'd suggest either continuing up for a goats-eye view or heading to a far side of the water since there may be children or beer drinking kids and voices carry hard here.

I have not checked in about whether fishing is legal here but at 4pm I did see a few peaks and swirls. It's calm and dry flies would likely do the trick.

If the lot is full you can park at the turnout across the river just be VERY careful crossing the bridge back to the Lake Trailhead turnoff it is very narrow.

Tell Kuehn (209)

7 Completed3 Reviews

Is a fairly straight forward hike on a well traveled trail. It is fairly rocky the entire way. Awesome lake though.

Sherry H. (220)

Absolutely Beautiful!

Hugo Portu (69)

3 Completed3 Reviews

Some interesting data for you.
Lake is N 45 22.793
W 111 14.699
Elevation 7,150 feet
Accuracy + - 13 feet

Trail starts at

Dalton Smith (255)

5 Completed5 Reviews

Great little day hike or overnighter. This trail is fairly populated from the bozeman crowd. Also as of summer 2014 the lake is lifeless when it comes to fish. Not a bad hike to do with family. Good views.