Bass Creek to Bass Lake hike remains one of my all-time favorite hikes. My husband and I hiked into the lake in early October and the fall colors blew us away with their beauty.
Where is it? Driving south from Missoula, MT, continue along US-93, and there will be a signed turn-off 3 miles south of Florence.
Miles: Various sites give different mileage estimations ranging from 7-9 miles in, and we met an experienced hiker during our hike whose GPS said 8.7 miles to the lake, and we hiked past the lake before turning around.
The hike is an out and back trail.
Time: We took about 9-10 hours to complete the full hike. We stopped briefly for food and when we reached the lake, but the rain made it too cold to stay stopped for long!
What to Bring: Dress for the season! Our rain gear saved us on this hike. We do not have gaiters, which would have been nice, but our hiking pants dried out pretty quickly. Also pack food! The first time we tried this hike we only brought snacks and it was pretty miserable.
The Good: Beautiful views along the way, great workout. Plus we met an awesome fellow hiker! He has hiked the Appalachian Trail (hello bucket list!), and clearly knows what he is doing. And he looked to be in either his 60’s or 70’s. Life goals right there.
Considerations: This hike is considered difficult, but since it’s an out and back hike, you can turn around at any point! Most of the uphill is after the first 3 to 4 miles, so hiking the first bit would be a nice and easy hike. Total elevation gain is around 3,000 feet. My knees hurt me on the way down most of the way, but this is more due to my IT bands and glutes being too tight.
Overall: Highly recommend this hike! If you have time and energy to make it a full-day hike, do it.