Leigh Creek Falls

Lincoln, Montana 59639

Leigh Creek Falls

Leigh Creek Falls Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"The hike to Leigh Creek Falls and beyond is steep and strenuous but the payoff is enormous. You get to see not only a spectacular waterfall but also Leigh Lake, the largest lake in the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness, and Snowshoe Peak, the tallest point in the range.

On the way, you stand a good chance of seeing mountain goats in the rocky, subalpine environment. There is no camping within 300 yards of the lake, which makes the trek most suitable as a day-hike. The mountain grandeur you find on this hike is hard to beat anywhere."

More Leigh Creek Falls Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Hiking Montana (Falcon Guides)
Bill Schneider & Russ Schneider
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"A short but steep day hike to the largest lake in the Cabinet Wilderness (nearly a mile across) with stunning views of Snowshoe Peak, the highest peak in Montana west of Glacier National Park. Leigh Lake Trail 132 climbs steeply uphill through thick forest with breaks providing views of Leigh Creek Valley. It’s only 1.5 miles to the lake, but the steep grade and rocky trail make it an hour-long trip, and longer with an overnight pack. Along the trail you’ll see some massive western hemlocks, a beautiful tree you don’t see often in Montana. The vegetation is wonderfully lush all along the route. Less than a half mile before the lake, you get a great view of a gorgeous waterfall. Just before the falls, the trail turns right and goes straight up. This short section is very steep and requires handholds in a few places—it wouldn’t be fun with a heavy pack."

Leigh Creek Falls Trip Reports

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Worth the trip, lake is beautiful ! Hike is moderate+ and we had approximately 2 miles in.
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I did this hike as an overnight snowshoe trip. It worked out quite well, although we did get a late start and wound up finishing the hike in the dark. The steady uphill grade made it a challenge, but even covered with snow the trail was easy to follow. There was a significant amount of snow on the trail even though we've had a mild winter this year. (1-plus foot at around 4000 feet to about 2 feet at 5000+ feet) The trailhead was easily accessible with my 4WD even though the road was ice-covered. The scenery was lovely, although we didn't hike all the way to the upper lake, we stopped at the lower. We're amateur snowshoers, and this trip was a bit of a challenge with full packs, but there is no exposure or avalanche hazard in the immediate trail area. Definitely a worthwhile hike.
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This trail is quite difficult, and it is considerably longer than 3 miles. There has been some land and rock slides that have made the trail nearly impassible in more than one place without exposing yourself to significant risk. There is not a lot to see on the trail until you reach the lake - which is magnificent. There is also a big mining reclamation project in the area and you should expect road delays of up to an hour as you make your way to the trailhead.
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Trail is close to being strenous.Folowing Cedar Creek the trail goes through lots of old growth cedar but pops out in a heavely burned erea many times.There are great views from the lower lake but don't stay there cause the upper is even better.

Leigh Creek Falls Photos

Trail Information

Nearby City
1,180 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Skill Level
2-3 hours
July to Oct
Kootenai National Forest, 31374, US 2, Libby, MT 59923-3022; (406) 293-6211; fs.usda.gov/kootenai
Local Contacts
DeLorme Atlas and Gazetteer Montana Page 20, F5; USGS Quad Snowshoe Peak
Local Maps

Trail Log