Backpack to Golden & Jasper Lakes in the Beartooths

Rate this Adventure Island Lake Trailhead, WY

With multiple peaks over 12,000 ft. elevation and hundreds of backcountry lakes, the Beartooth Wilderness/ mountain range is a premier destination for incredible high alpine lake fishing. Golden Lake is one of those lakes with incredible views and world class Cutthroat Trout.

Get ready for a challenging hike if you are not used to high elevations! This backpacking trip starts at the Island Lake trailhead a few miles west of the Beartooth Pass on Highway 212. Island lake sits at 9518 ft. elevation and your trek only goes up from there! The trail stays very flat and manageable as you pass Night Lake and continue North at about mile 2.5 the trail splits to the west DO NOT follow the trail west, if you start going downhill you went the wrong way!  

The trail you need to follow is faint but it continues North and splits Mutt and Jeff Lakes. At about Mile 3.25 you encounter your first climb of about 300 ft, it seems easy but at almost 10,000 ft. is anything really easy? After the climb you continue on the trail as it takes you along the East Side of Becker Lake for 1.25 miles to the head of the lake. Continue on the trail as you start your next climb towards Albino Lake, again about 300 ft. but with a pack on and the elevation you may need to  stop and catch your breath! Midway through the climb you will cross the border of Montana and at the top of the pass you encounter Albino Lake at mile 6 and exactly 10,000 ft. Albino Lake is another incredible lake for fishing so if you want to stop and have some lunch and get a little fishing in, Albino is a great place to do so. To make it to Golden Lake you will skirt the West side of Albino and cross one more pass on the North Side of the lake. Crossing the pass to Golden/Jasper Lake is the hardest part of the whole trek especially at the end of your hike but once you reach the top you see why it is worth the effort. Golden Lake to your left and Jasper Lake to your right surrounded by incredible mountains on all sides. There are flat spots to set up your tent and anywhere you can throw a fishing line is world class! 

Be Bear Aware!!! Store your food and carry Bear Spray!

Pack List

  • Tent
  • Fishing Pole
  • Montana Fishing License
  • Bear Spray
  • Food for a couple days
  • water filtration
  • Outer Layers ( Weather is always changing with snow storms in July sometimes) 
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RT Distance 14 Miles
Elevation Gain 1000 Feet
Activities Chillin, Camping, Fishing, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking
Skill Level Advanced
Season Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Dog Friendly
Lake
Wildlife
Swimming Hole

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