A Glorious Granite Lake Adventure

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Things I brought: 

  • Berghaus 35 liter backpack
  • Sleeping mat
  • Mummy bag
  • 2 Nalgene Bottles
  • MSR Ex Microfilter (Waterfilter)
  • Fire Starters/ Matches
  • Dry, lightweight food
  • Comfortable shoes

If you’re looking to spend a weekend hiking into a majestic hidden mountain lake in Montana’s backwoods, this is your hike. Granite Lake, nestled peacefully between the base of Peak ‘A’ and Peak ‘C’, is one of the region’s most exquisite scenic destinations. Located near Libby, this moderately trafficked 12-mile trail winds through lush mountain pines and offers spectacular backwood views. As long as you have the right equipment and rations, you’re going to love the hell out of this hike.

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I’ve personally only been there once, but I plan to revisit this glittering beauty in the height of the summer – maybe then I’d grow some cajones and jump into the chilly waters, which are fed by snow runoff from the nearby peaks. It would also be a great place to bring a fishing pole or two.

So before you reach this small and pristine lake, you’re going to have to work for it a bit. I remember huffing and puffing a few times, along the 1,400 ft elevation gain journey, but in the words of Rob Schneider, “You can do it!” Honestly, though, it’s not a tough journey and you’ll be too distracted by the sheer beauty of the trail to notice your lack of oxygen.

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The dirt trail follows the lazy Granite Creek.You’ll find yourself crossing over it a few times via fallen logs or just your own two legs. I’d suggest bringing an extra pair of water socks or beater shoes. Either way, you’re gonna get wet once or twice on this grand adventure.

After following the semi-marked trail, you’ll arrive at your beautiful destination. I spent a good chunk of the trip admiring the mirrored reflection of the peak on the waters surface. This place is just absolutely stunning.

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For camping, you’ll find several spots on each side of the lake. My fiancee and I managed to snag one on the south shore. We lit a fire, curled up in a couple sleeping bags, and slept until dawn woke us.

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All-in-all, I rate this adventure an 7.6. Here’s how I broke it down:

Destination – 9. This lake is hard to beat.

Commute – 6. It’s a good five hours out of town.

Off-the-grid feel – 8. Apart from the couple backpackers we saw at the lake, we were the only ones for miles.

Have you ever backpacked through the Cabinet Mountains? Let us hear your story in the comments below!


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