Posted By The Success Fisherman

Elk Lake


Elk Lake is definitely one of my favorite destinations. The trail-head (one end of East Rosebud Trail Number 15, also known as “The Beaten Path”) is at East Rosebud Lake and it is a relatively easy 3 1/2 mile hike in to Elk Lake.

Elk Lake makes a good early season hike/backpack because it is among the first lakes to be accessible when the snow melts in the spring. Sioux Charley Lake and some others can be accessible sooner but Elk Lake on the East Rosebud Trail and Slough Lake on the Phantom Creek Trail are usually close behind.

In the spring it is mostly about what elevation a lake is at when it comes to snow melt. The higher elevation lakes only get exposed and accessible without snow shoes etc later in the season. And of course there are other factors but as a general rule I look at elevation first if I am trying to scout out a new lake to go to in the spring.

Elk Lake is just the first lake of many on “The Beaten Path” and it is easy to see why it is a very popular trail once you are in the area. The scenery is simply spectacular.


To get to East Rosebud Lake and the trail-heads in the area (East Rosebud Trail and Phantom Creek Trail which is one of two primary routes to the highest peak in Montana – Granite Peak. It is also the trail Slough Lake is on) simply take I-90 to Columbus and then head south on Highway 78, also known as county road 289, through Absarokee and then turn at Roscoe onto the East Rosebud Road. Shortly after that you will cross East Rosebud Creek and once across will need to take a right onto East Rosebud Lake Road. (notice the only difference is the word lake)

The parking lot for the trail-head is pretty much the end of the road although there are some private cabins and roads nearby. Just make sure you stay on the main road and you can’t miss it.


Elk Lake 2011 – Didn’t quite make the lake due to snow


Elk Lake – Second Trip 2011


More coming soon.


View Larger Map

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Tags Comment Meta:
RSS Feed for comments
TrackBack URI