Some people were fishing, not sure if they were having any luck. I waited for 30 minutes until I got my first bite but damn it was worth it. #NextTime, Buffalo Horn Pass from Tom Miner Campground, Bozeman, MT, to West Yellowstone, MT: the West Entrance, Levinski Ridge via Porcupine Creek Trailhead, Hyalite-Porcupine-Buffalo Horn Wilderness Study Area. Some of the most beautiful fish I’ve ever held in my hands. Golden Trout Lakes is in the Lakes category for Gallatin County in the state of Montana. Moderately trafficked with people at the destination. Starting in Bozeman, travel south of Gallatin Gateway about 5 miles on Hwy 191 and turn left on to Storm Castle Creek Road. Was much colder at the lake so didn’t stay long. Not true. Golden Trout Wilderness. Golden trout are on the smaller side. It is currently 8+ feet of snow! The Golden Trout lakes offer a scenic getaway just out of the Gallatin Valley Canyon. To get to Golden Trout Lakes, head north out of Big Sky on highway 191 for 5.1 miles. The lookout provides a panorami... Overview The golden trout is a California species that was introduced in Montana in 1907. For those of you that are up there for the fishing! There are also campspots with fire pits if you want to make it an overnight. Steep hike with some boggy sections that might do better with waterproof boots. Continue left for the Golden Trout Lakes. In Wyoming, however, they don't offer stocking records on their website. To access the trail head, turn east onto Portal Creek Road #984 and continue southeast for 6.8 miles. It was a beautiful blast in our eyes but if you are looking to fish, look somewhere else!! The last mile is rough - very steep. But it’s well worth it when you get to the lake. Fox Creek Cabin is a former ranger station located in a remote area. Fishing too. It had some steeper inclines but we were able to stop and rest by a beautiful stream. Dogs are also able to use this trail. Road conditions leading up are tremendously bad. The two aforementioned Fish lakes in Idaho’s Bitterroot Mountains also are thought to have held native bull trout. Another sign about half way will point you toward the Hidden Lakes parking area and trailhead. Gorgeous views make this fairly strenuous climb worth it. Golden trout have an interesting history in the state record books. Go PRO to support our mission and get benefits like gear deals, no ads, and more! The lake is beautiful in a nice place to relax. A sign indicates heading left to Windy Pass and Golden Trout Lakes, but bear right at the fork and continue another 2.2 miles to the Hidden Lakes trailhead. Some popular destinations are Lightning Lake, Cave Lake, the Hidden Lakes (Gallatin Range) and the Golden Trout Lakes. Great trail with nice reward at the end. We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Bring your fly rod, because some lakes hold a variety of fish like cutthroat trout or grayling. I made it to the lake in an hour. Fishing Permits . Nice n easy hike. Not good weather since pretty thick fog. 06/23/2018. Do NOT GO ON THIS TRAIL RIGHT NOW! Continue left for the Golden Trout Lakes. The trailhead for Golden Trout Lakes is located off of US Highway 191 south of Bozeman, Montana… The meadow and wildflowers were awesome! They spawn in the fall on the rocky substrate of the shoreline. Even the drive up Portal Creek Road is breathtaking!!!! The trail begins to gain noticeable elevation as it continues. This was a great trail! Golden Trout Lakes Trail: Rough roads to the Golden Trout Lakes - See 4 traveler reviews, 3 candid photos, and great deals for Gallatin Gateway, MT, at Tripadvisor. The road in is really rocky but easily drivable with an appropriate car and tires- my explorer was fine- but plan on 30-45 minutes or so to drive the 6 miles from 191 to the trailhead. I believe that the roundtrip distance is a little off compared to this site in my opinion, but I totally recommend this hike to anyone. The Golden Trout Lakes fishing map contains information about some of the best fishing spots this lake has to offer as well as the nearby cottages, campgrounds, and bait and tackle shops. A few streams cross the trail but are easily maneuvered over via rocks. A Hidden Lakes permit is needed to fish at Hidden Lakes. There were 2 water crossings, plus a field that was pretty much just marsh, so be prepared to get your feet wet if that hasn’t dried up. I went last spring, there was a lot of water over the path and some post holing to be done. The trail has about 4 steep sections followed by flat sections to catch your breathe. We walked 15 miles round trip! The thing that didn’t make it worth doing again was the road to the trailhead. In looping around the lake, many fish were noted rising to the surface; however, none were caught. In early July 2012, my mom and I headed up into the Gallatin Mountains for our next hiking adventure: Golden Trout Lakes. Great trail with a beautiful and quiet lake at the top. BULL TROUT. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until September. A few streams cross the trail but are easily maneuvered over via rocks. The Hidden Lakes Trailhead is 6.0 miles from 191 and is located at approximately 8185 feet. The hike and the lake are breathtaking. Some of the best spots to cast a fly include Spanish Lakes, Hidden Lakes, or Golden Trout Lakes. Beautiful fish! One of the best in Big Sky. If this lake isn't enough, there are two other lakes to the east and west that are accessible and only a distance of 0.3 miles to loop all three. There are only about 20 lakes or groups of lakes in the state that hold good numbers of golden trout. The largest of the Golden Trout Lakes is surrounded by forest, with good campsites above the north and east shores. Here's a look at some excellent Montana Brook Trout we tracked down last summer. (Hiking) Golden Trout Lakes, Near Big Sky, Montana By danwgoodman on June 27, 2012 • ( 3 Comments ) Stifling heat and choking smoke may define the legacy of Montana’s 2012 summer, but the state’s high altitude mountain lakes have so far remained havens for outdoor seekers of … Others are the perfect place for a … Stay on the trail marked NFS 83 at the bifurcation to hidden lake cutoff. My Outback did just fine. Lake is frozen over as of 10/15/17. The road gets a bit bumpier for another 2.2 miles. 0.8 miles). Very few people on the trail for a Saturday in August. Road up to lake is nice however you need 4wd in some spots and there are no signs until you're right at the spot to park at the top of the mountain. The Golden Trout Lakes sit in a basin at an elevation of 9,050 feet. Golden trout lakes is a 5-mile rout trip hike with the opportunity to fish for Golden Trout. The golden trout populations started from the Sur- prise Lake stock had a low occurrence of the variant allele. We're committed to building a better, more inclusive home for the modern outdoors. The map also shows hotspots where our fishing junkies have caught lunkers and posted photos and stories. The trail is a little flooded in places and a bit of a rough drive - worth it. The people who keep track of the record fish have been very busy in the past few years with the state record golden trout. It was difficult driving up the road to get to the beginning of the trail, so I recommend a vehicle that can handle the rough road; preferably a truck or AWD. Hidden Lakes Historic Trout Farm, Bolingbrook: See 48 reviews, articles, and 28 photos of Hidden Lakes Historic Trout Farm, ranked No.4 on Tripadvisor among 19 attractions in Bolingbrook. Definitely more than that... once we got there it was completely frozen over. Trail had snow on parts and a small lake from snow melting towards the last stretch of the hike that we had to go around but omg was it worth it!!! Hidden Lakes is a lake in Montana and has an elevation of 9026 feet. Windy Pass Cabin was built in 1934. Beautiful hike, and we had a great time fishing!! Like Cottonwood Lakes, the portion of the Kern River where golden trout can be found is extremely tricky to get to. Bring water, bear spray and your fly rod. Definitely worth the hike up there! The trail is rough if you have a lot of weight on you. The trail starts at the Gallatin River and continues upward through dense evergreen forest. The view is stunning and is a very nice place to escape to, even if just for an hour or so. About an hour and 20 minutes to get to the lake at a moderate pace, so calculate that into when you want to start fishing. DISCUSSION Present Status Of the 14 lake systems in Montana with golden trout in 1981, only Lightning, Sylvan, Sawtooth, Island, Hidden #5, 6 and 7 and Golden Trout lakes appear relatively secure. Bring bug spray! 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. Hiked on Labor Day. Not sure when this trail will be ready to use but not anytime soon! Beautiful hike, but uncertain footing along much of the rock-strewn trail. Equestrian corrals and horse trails. The last mile is pretty tough, but I’d label the rest as moderate. Mosquitos are vicious in the parking lot so plan ahead to make a quick getaway- they lighten up as you go but bug juice is recommended. Didn’t catch any trout, but saw plenty grabbing bugs off the surface. The fly fishing options in Big Sky country are endless. At this fork you can go to Windy Pass and Golden Trout Lakes or Hidden Lakes. Was a nice hike in a wooded area to the lake. The largest Golden on record is an 11-pound, 4-ounce fish that The drive is doable, we were in a pick up truck with four wheel drive and it took about 35 mins. As golden lakes go, this one was nirvana. Beautiful Alpine Lake. Lastly, we made it to the top in 2 wheel drive, it’s not too bad of a drive, and really the biggest time clearance came into question was coming back down and honestly, if you’re a good driver, you could make it in something like a Subaru Outback. Lake Trout inhabit very deep, cold lakes, living in water up to 200 feet deep. We did it in my 4Runner and had zero issues. If you're fishing, look for the inlet across the lake form where you arrive. Not to be unexpected with all the snow! Less busy trail. Also, the mosquitos were terrible, so wear bug spray and bring extra to reapply at the top! The lake is calm and serene, tucked into the trees with several camp spots around its perimeter. Once we go to the actual trail head it stated 2.5 miles to the lake. Anyone who is interested in visiting Golden Trout Lakes can print the free topographic map and street map using the link above. Recommend bait is half a worm on a small hook with a weight 20-26 inches up your line. Big, gorgeous, tucked up against a wall of rock, and with a little outlet stream to a smaller lake below it. It provides a rustic mountain retreat with few amenities, so guests need to bring most of th... Overview Great place for dogs to swim at the top. We will be back to see the lake! The trail begins to gain noticeable elevation as it continues. Upper and Lower Twin lakes on Twin Lakes Creek near Anaconda, Montana, are presumed to have held native bull trout; probably so did Doctor and Big Salmon lakes in the South Fork of the Flathead River watershed. Lots of shade. Once you get to the beginning of the trail, the hike is a nice little workout until you reach the final location of Golden Trout Lakes. The Golden Trout Lakes trail (Trail #89) is located up Portal Creek in the Gallatin Canyon near Big Sky. At this point, there is a decent sized parking area. The trail head is equipped with adequate parking. Golden Trout Lakes trail is a 5 mile out and back hike to a beautiful alpine lake in the Gallatin Range of SW Montana. The current cabin, a former guard station, was ... Overview Bring a fishing rod. Ran into hikers that made the mistake of following the arrow pointing right rather than straight and ended up in the wrong location. Requires a 4WD vehicle for the road in -- very VERY rough. The 6 mile round trip to Lava Lake is a steady climb that runs beside Cascade Creek through the Lee Metcalf Wilderness. Follow this road for about 3.5 miles until the road ends. Golden Trout Lakes is displayed on the Lone Indian Peak USGS quad topo map. Veer right for Hidden Lakes. One accesses Windy Pass (a nice hike in it's own right), the other heads off to the Golden Trout Lakes. Fairly mellow and peaceful hike. Eastern Sierra – Horseshoe Meadows Road (paved) leads up to high elevation meadows from the high deserts of Lone Pine, CA. We did the entire thing just so our dogs could explore. There are currently about 20 golden trout populations in the high mountain lakes of western and southcentral Montana. Beautiful short and easy hike. The trailhead is easy to find, and has a vault toilet and a decently sized parking lot. Turned around .5 miles in on the trail due to snow. Road was still closed due to runoff so we had to hike 4 miles just to get to the trailhead. Took a while to get there in our truck. Good hike, rough road getting up there. If you’re still not sure where to begin your Big Sky fly fishing adventure, check out MontanaAngler.com or better yet, hire one of Big Sky country’s world class fly fishing guides. Neither trail is terribly difficult. Call ahead to see if its open. It is very small and offers only basic amenities. © 2020 The Outbound Collective - Terms of Use - Privacy Policy. 0.8 miles). Trail is 2.5 miles according to my watch. Great views. The trail leaves from right next to the toilets, and is very easy to follow. Definitely coming again to try to catch some golden trout. Golden Trout Lakes Trail is a 7.7 kilometer moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Gallatin Gateway, Montana that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail starts off easy and winds past a few small ponds before reaching the cutoff to Hidden Lakes Trail (approx. I just drove right up to the creek located at about 7000 ft elevation in my Jeep 4+4 and started to fish. The first challenge in catching golden trout is determining which lakes hold them. Up high in the Beartooth Mountains of Montana there is Sylvan Lake, offering good fishing for golden trout. Unfortunately, a storm blew in sent us back down the hill about a quarter-mile from the lakes. Easily in anything higher than that, I would say. For the last 3 miles it was very rough with rocks and pot holes. I just went fishing in the western Sierra and caught a Golden trout even bigger than the one in the picture. Generally you can’t just do a quick day trip for these ornate fish. Catfish is stocked May and September. Five of the lakes contain golden or rainbow trout (or both). Golden Trout Lakes is a lake located just 11.9 miles from Big Sky, in Gallatin County, in the state of Montana, United States, near George Norman Trailer Court, MT. The road is in rough condition and is better suited for vehicles with a higher clearance. Nice lake at the end. You might also find goldens scattered around in few other lakes, but they are not as widespread as many species of trout in Montana. Rough roads to the Golden Trout Lakes It was difficult driving up the road to get to the beginning of the trail, so I recommend a vehicle that can handle the rough road; preferably a truck or AWD. Throw the smallest fly you have out as far as you can cast and just sit there and wait. Fly-fishing for golden trout is a time-consuming, obsession-creating adventure of a time. It was a little more difficult than I expected, but doable. But for those who make the trip, catching a golden trout, the state fish, is worth the effort. Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) access; Mount Whitney and John Muir Wilderness are to the north. Hiking to an alpine lake is a rewarding adventure. In Montana, the Lake Trout of Flathead Lake have achieved trophy status, growing to 42 pounds. There are some different options for starting and ending this hike, but the route I did started at Buffalo Horn Trailhead and ends at the Hyalite Creek Trailhead, and is approximately 42 miles total. Bring bug repellent. It was well worth it though, very pretty and secluded. We walked 1 1/2 + miles from the closed road to the sign that states 3 miles to trail head. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your We were just hiking in for fun! Roads, campgrounds and trailheads surrounding Golden Trout Wilderness. Golden trout are most often found in remote, alpine drainages over 9,000 feet in elevation. Users have reported that the road leading to the trailhead might require 4WD with high clearance. After passing a large open field (possibly a marsh, depending on weather and time of year), the trail hits a steep section before leveling off for the final approach to the lake. The largest Golden Trout are located in high mountain lakes of Wyoming and Montana, but there are also fish in Utah and Idaho. Sylvan Lake’s golden population is so pure that the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks regularly uses the eggs laid by goldens at Sylvan Lake for stocking other lakes in Montana. It is absolutely beautiful but I can imagine it is much more manageable when you can drive to the trail head and hike. Lake Trout are a major game fish in much of Canada and were at one time a staple of the Great Lakes fishery. The original Big Creek Cabin was built in 1907 and it still stands on this site. When we got to the lake could maybe see ten feet out! Our group caught a total of 9 fish for the day before it got cut short by a mean rain/hail storm. Hidden Lakes from Mapcarta, the free map. The ponds at Hidden Lakes are stocked in April and October with trout. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/montana/golden-trout-lakes The Outbound works best with JavaScript enabled. Eagle Head Mountain borders the lake to the south and provides a nice backdrop to this beautiful scene. Few camp spots around the lake. A great hike. In fact, much of the South Fork of the Kern River is only accessible to the dedicated outdoorsmen who are willing to ride in by horseback. First stocked in 1938, the golden trout at Sylvan Lake are well known in Montana for their genetic purity. Please explore responsibly! They provide a unique opportunity to catch a beautiful fish in a pristine environment. Fishermen will find a variety of fish including brown trout, northern pike, rainbow trout and whitefish here. Beautiful hike! The trail starts off easy and winds past a few small ponds before reaching the cutoff to Hidden Lakes Trail (approx. Permits are … Overview This is actually a collection of three lakes, though we just went to the main one. Pack only the necessities if you're going to fish! this is an awesome trail to a beautiful and quiet lake....there are a lot of great little streams and plenty of shade through many portions of the trail. Glad I borrowed a friends truck. Quite a commitment to get to the trail though as a 6 mile dirt road takes about half hour to drive because it's so rough but it's worth it. The high-mountain lakes rest in a cirque on the northern slope of Eaglehead Mountain, a three-peaked mountain with a rounded, grassy ridge. Golden trout find conditions in those high, cold lakes to be just what they like, and there are good numbers of them in some lakes. The trailhead serves double duty as it's the jumping off place for two trails. Lots of evidence of bears being in the area so be on alert!!! Garnet Mountain Fire Lookout sits on the apex of Garnet Mountain, at an elevation of 8,245 feet. The portal creek road is challenging, best to have 4x4 or AWD with high clearance. The big myth about Golden Trout is that you have to go on some backbreaking hike to 11,000 ft to catch a Golden Trout. The California golden trout, or simply the golden trout (Oncorhynchus aguabonita or Oncorhynchus mykiss aguabonita), is a species of trout native to California.The golden trout is normally found in the Golden Trout Creek (tributary to the Kern River), Volcano Creek (tributary to Golden Trout Creek), and the South Fork Kern River.It is the state freshwater fish of California. Bring bug spray though!! Once you get to the beginning of the trail, the hike is a nice little workout until you reach the final location of Golden Trout Lakes. All adults age 16 and older are required to have a Hidden Lakes permit. Enjoy the high-mountain air of a trail that begins above 8,000 feet. Still a good hike with a challenging last mile. Worth the drive and hike. 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