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 shortperfect for folks who aren’t super fit or those who want to make a quick stop on their drive over the Beartooth Pass but still want to be stunned by scenery and feel like they are really out there.
I’ve been up the Beartooth Pass and hiked around Island and Night Lakes several times since then. It’s fun to see it in different seasons and as the kids get older.
The trail name is Beartooth Highlakes Trail and Island and Night Lakes are the first two lakes along the trail, but it continues on to many other lakes.
From the trailhead, follow the path toward 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.
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.
Details For Hiking to Island and Night Lakes
Getting To Island Lake
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 to Island and Night Lakes
3.4 miles round trip
Elevation Gain on Island and Night Lakes Trail
Best Hiking Guidebooks for the Beartooths
- Day Hikes in the Beartooth Mountains by Robert Stone
- Hiking the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness by Bill Schneider
- Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness East Map [Cooke City, Red Lodge] (National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map, 722)
More On Red Lodge, Cooke City- Silver Gate, and the Beartooth Highway
- Visiting Red Lodge in Winter
- Summer Red Lodge Itinerary
- Hike the Silver Run Ski Trails, Red Lodge
- Hike South Fork Grove Creek, Red Lodge
- Playing and Staying in Cooke City and Silver Gate, Montana
- Things To Do in Cooke City Montana in Winter
- Best Places to Stay Near Yellowstone National Park
- Things To Do Beyond Yellowstone’s Borders