two boys looking at partially frozen Island Lake in the Beartooth Mountains

Hike to Island and Night Lakes in the Beartooths

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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 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. 

Island Lake

Island Lake

Night LakeFrom 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.


Night Lake

A baby on a rock in 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.

Details For Hiking to Island and Night Lakes

Boy looking in lake in background and snow tunnel and flower in foreground at Island Lake a hike on the Beartooth Highway

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

100 feet

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