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Golden Trout Lake

Hike to a stunning alpine lake popular with fly fishermen.

Hiking Difficult

7.9 km
351 m
351 m
2-3 hrs
Low Point
2.5 km
High Point
2.8 km
Golden Trout Lake Map

Golden Trout Lake is a renowned alpine lake for fly fishermen looking to catch the eponymous fish. This beautiful body of water is flanked by a stunning array of vaulted mountain peaks.


While the hike to the lake might only be 2.4 miles one-way, the trail climbs a stiff 1,200 vertical feet in that distance. The climb isn't technical, but it is steep, forcing you to earn the coveted opportunity to fish in this idyllic location.

The trail to the lake climbs up the bottom of a narrow mountain valley, crossing several streams along the way. Meadows are interspersed with dense forest, providing stunning views along the way.

If you want to spend a long time enjoying the views and fishing in the lake, there are a few campsites close to the lake that you can use to turn this into a short backpacking trip. Be sure to follow all Leave No Trace backcountry guidelines

Note 1:

Most sources warn that you should drive a 4x4 or high clearance vehicle to reach the trailhead.

Note 2:

The Big Sky area is renowned as prime grizzly bear country. Signs at every trailhead warn that bears are highly active in the area. To mitigate the risk of bear encounters, make plenty of noise while hiking, try to hike with a group of people, and consider attaching a bear bell to your backpack. Also, make certain that you carry bear spray with you every time you hike, in case you do get into an encounter with a grizzly.

Sources: https://www.theoutbound.com/montana/hiking/hike-to-golden-trout-lakes https://www.visitbigsky.com/get-inspired/big-sky-stories/7-best-hikes-in-big-sky-montana https://www.discoverbigsky.com/best-hikes-big-sky-montana/



Hiking trails where obstacles such as rocks or roots are prevalent. Some obstacles can require care to step over or around. At times, the trail can be worn and eroded. The grade of the trail is generally quite steep, and can often lead to strenuous hiking.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.


3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

between July and October


  • Alpine
  • Picturesque
  • Water features

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area