• Activities:

    Chillin, Camping, Fishing, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    6 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    1600 Feet

Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Lake
Scenic
Wildlife

Lava Lake is a popular hike off of US 191 in the Gallatin Canyon. Only a short drive from Bozeman, MT the lake is a popular place to fish, swim, or just relax.

The 6 mile round trip to Lava Lake is a steady climb that runs beside Cascade Creek through the Lee Metcalf Wilderness. The trail starts at the Gallatin River and continues upward through dense evergreen forest. There are no confusing intersections but is quite rocky and considered to be moderate in difficulty.

Due to the dense forest, views are limited until you get to Lava Lake. In the first mile you will walk by a summer cabin, as you get closer to the lake the trail begins to have switchbacks and then opens up to some small meadows. Snow may still be present on into May, and the water is cold and refreshing throughout the summer.

Pack List

  • Bear Spray
  • Hiking Shoes
  • Day Pack, Snacks, Water
Read More

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

Community Photos

+ Add Photos

Reviews

Overall rating: 

Leave a Review

I hiked back here in January with my friend. The trail was nice and bootpacked. We brought snowshoes and strapped them on once we got to the frozen snow-covered lake and shoed across the lake in the fresh powder. Amazing view. A bit windy at the lake. The hike is not bad.

11 months ago
11 months ago

Pretty steep incline most the way up. About 3 miles to the lake. The bridge you cross is about a mile from the top. Great swimming in august

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Dwayne Parton

Travel. Outdoors. Lifestyle. I completed a thru hike of the Appalachian Trail in 2014. I loved the lifestyle it afforded. Now I live in a van with my dog Bobby traveling across the country. Life's a journey, so let's participate.

Are we missing something? Suggest an edit

Nearby Adventures

Hike the Sugar Bowl Loop in Kings Canyon NP

Tulare County, California

First and foremost, to get to this trailhead you need to drive down a 2-mile, one lane dirt road that is quite steep.

8 Saves

Hike to Ehukai Pillbox

59178 Ke Nui Road, Hawaii

This hike starts directly across from Banzai Pipeline, the famous barreling wave at Ehukai Beach.

7 Saves

Winter Hike to Calypso Cascades

1046 County Highway 115, Colorado

While most people go snowshoeing near the Bear Lake or Glacier Gorge area in RMNP, Wild Basin is a much less trafficked option.

5 Saves