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Trout Lake

A pair of common mergansers swimming in the calm waters of Trout Lake below a clearing storm. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Trout Lake is a moderate 1.3 mile lollipop loop in the Lamar Valley of Yellowstone National Park that brings hikers up to a gorgeous glacial lake at the base of Druid Peak and the Absaroka Mountains. While some may find the initial ascent challenging, the scenic loop around the lake is quite relaxing.

Trout Lake Trail Description

From the trailhead, drop down to the large kiosk, then begin the steep climb up along the ridgeline. You’ll pass through forest and meadow as you continue to ascend, eventually leveling out as you begin to approach the lake. Once at the high point of the trail, you’ll drop down to the lake’s shores amongst mature Douglas fir trees where the trail then forks. Either way will loop around the lake. This writeup was done going counterclockwise, but either direction results in a magnificent hike.

Heading up the lake’s perimeter, the terrain begins to open up, showing off stunning views of Druid Peak and the mighty Absaroka Mountains ahead. The meander along the shore soon leads to a footbridge crossing the creek that feeds Trout Lake. From there, you’ll continue to wrap around the lake in an open and inspiring landscape.

As you near the southern shore, you’ll be back among the woods. Winding through the conifers, you’ll reach another small footbridge, this one spanning the lake’s outlet. Shortly after, you’ll complete the loop, where you can head back out the same way you came in.

Trout Lake sitting calmly below stormy weather as a light rain falls on its surface. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Getting There

From Cooke City, Montana, head west along Highway 212 and into Yellowstone National Park for 14.5 miles. Look for the trailhead on your right.

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All content © Copyright Mike Cavaroc, Free Roaming Hiker & Free Roaming Photography