Fish Lake – Another hike in the Lost Horse Country

From the Bear Creek Pass Trailhead, several great hikes spread into the Lost Horse Country, and the trail to Fish Lake is exceptional. Starting out, we hiked through a mixture of forest and boulder fields until we reached a junction in the path. By this time we were solidly within the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness Area. Continuing straight would lead you to Coquina Lake, but we hung a left.

Starting out from the Bear Creek Pass trailhead

Starting out from the Bear Creek Pass trailhead

The first of a few switchbacks

The first of a few switchbacks

The trail weaves its way through and around large granite boulders

The trail weaves its way through and around large granite boulders

Oh look, another switchback

Oh look, another switchback

Sandwiched between two boulders, we entered the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness Area

Sandwiched between two boulders, we entered the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness Area

The Lost Horse Country

The Lost Horse Country

Spruce and boulders
Looking down towards Lower Bear Lake

Looking down towards Lower Bear Lake

From here, we switchbacked across a fairly open forested face to a flat pass. Looking down to the south, Fish Water appeared to be really close. However, we had about another mile and a half of hiking left before reached the water. The trail now began a prolonged downhill to the lake. The vegetation on this side the hill was considerably thicker and lusher than the Bear Creek side of the ridge. Reaching the lake, Vida almost immediately went a swim, and she just had to swim out to the rock some 25 yards out. Across the lake, White’s Mountain stands prominently, and at its base, there Hackney Lake and Lost Horse Lake, which you could continue to hike to for an overnight trip.

Total distance: 9.29 mi
Max elevation: 7198 ft
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Setting sun over the Lost Horse Country

Setting sun over the Lost Horse Country

She hikes, and she likes it

She hikes, and she likes it

The pass between Bear Creek and Fish Lake

The pass between Bear Creek and Fish Lake

Vida hanging out on the shores of Fish Lake

Vida hanging out on the shores of Fish Lake

Fish Lake and White's Mountains in the distance

Fish Lake and White’s Mountains in the distance

The waters of Fish Lake

The waters of Fish Lake

Vida going for another skinny dip

Vida going for another skinny dip

Even though wildflower season is done, for the most part, there were a few in bloom in the wet margins of the lake. Explorer’ Gentian and Hooded Ladies’-Tresses were the 2 most interesting finds.

Explorer’s Gentian – Gentiana calycosa

Hooded Lady’s-tresses – Spiranthes romanzoffiana

The hike back to the trailhead was mostly about picking berries and enjoying the warm sun, even with the smoke from nearby wildfires.

Climbing back out of Fish Lake

Climbing back out of Fish Lake

The last switchback on the way back to the trailhead

The last switchback on the way back to the trailhead

It was a great hike

It was a great hike

Written by Radd Icenoggle

I am a native Montanan, who has spent a lifetime as an outdoors and wildlife enthusiast. I earned a degree in biology with an emphasis on habitat relations. During my studies, I had the great fortune to research and compose a thesis that explored the effects of slope aspect on...
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