Hike to Island and Night Lakes in the Beartooths

There are so many great hikes in the Beartooth Range, but on a recent trip my mom, baby and I decided to check out Island and Night Lakes. I picked this hike because it is flat and pretty short—perfect for folks who aren’t super fit or those who want to make a quick stop on their drive over the Bearooth Pass but still want to be stunned by scenery and feel like they are really out there.

Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness sign

Entering the Wilderness
Island Lake

Island Lake

From the trailhead, follow the path towards the lake and the boat ramp. Cross the boat ramp road and continue towards the outlet of the lake. The trail follows the west shore of Island Lake and then Night Lake. When the trail heads uphill at the north end of Night Lake we turned around, but the Beartooth High Lakes Trail continues to Becker, Beauty and Native lakes and into the backcountry.

Night Lake

Night Lake

Why hike here?
The scenery is stunning. Throughout the hike you’ll be gazing at alpine lakes, craggy peaks and landscapes that normally take at least a day of hiking to get to.

A baby on a rock in Night Lake

A baby on a rock in Night Lake

Just the Facts

Getting There: Look for the Island Lake turnoff on the north side of the Beartooth Highway (Hwy 212) 38 miles south of Red Lodge and 26 miles east of Cook City. Turn north and drive .02 miles to the sign for trailhead parking. Turn right and drive another .02 miles to the parking area.

Distance: 3.4 miles round trip

Elevation Gain: 100 feet

Good hiking guides for the area:

Image from Amazon
Best Easy Day Hikes Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, 2nd (Best Easy Day Hikes Series) by Bill Schneider

Image from Amazon
Day Hikes in the Beartooth Mountains, 4th (Day Hikes) by Robert Stone

Other Red Lodge posts

(Mostly) camping in Red Lodge

Red Lodge Road Trip–Are we there, yet? from Montana Parent magazine

Hike the Silver Run Ski Trails Near Red Lodge, Montana

Hike South Fork Grove Creek Near Red Lodge, Montana

Hike to Island and Night Lakes in the Beartooths

Drive the Beartooth Scenic Highway from Red Lodge to Cooke City

Beartooth Nature Center: Red Lodge, Montana

Field Trip Friday: Beartooth Nature Center

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