• Activities:

    Chillin, Camping, Fishing, Photography, Mountain Biking, Running, Swimming, Snowshoeing, Hiking

  • Skill Level:


  • Season:

    Summer, Autumn, Winter

  • Trail Type:


  • RT Distance:

    10.9 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    2000 Feet

Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Swimming Hole

This is an unbelievable hike that takes you into the backcountry of Montana. The end destination is near two beautiful alpine lakes in a valley surrounded by stunning mountain cliffs. 

Once in Bozeman, Take 19th Ave. south to Hyalite Canyon Rd. Turn left and continue past Hyalite Reservoir; when the road splits, take the left fork toward Palisade Falls. Continue past Palisade Falls to the end of the road. The trailhead is immediately ahead of you. This hike is around 11 miles to Emerald like, the first of the two lakes in the area. It has an elevation gain of around 2000 feet, making for a moderate hike. Heather Lake is another mile up the trail, and approximately 200 feet higher. 

Emerald and Heather Lake are absolutely stunning. But the hike up is just as beautiful. You'll pass incredible open wooded areas, and small stream waterfalls along the way. The lakes are crystal clear, filled with hungry fish, and chilled by mountain runoff. They are surrounded by intense mountain cliffs that make for an excellent backdrop. This hike makes for an excellent day trip, or overnight excursion. You can camp anywhere along the lakes. Be aware that Hyalite canyon is closed during spring runoff, and snow doesn't usually melt completely at the top of the hike until at least the middle of June. The closing dates are usually April 1 to May 15.  

Pack List

  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Daypack
  • Rain gear 
  • Good Hiking Shoes
  • Bear spray
  • Fly Rod
  • Camera
  • Camping gear for overnight stay
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Overall rating: 

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Beautiful lakes! The first 3.5 miles are strictly in the trees (you will however pass a 30' waterfall) and then the trail completely opens up. The views and solidarity are stunning.

9 months ago
9 months ago

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