Bonanza Lakes

Missoula, Montana 59807

Bonanza Lakes

Bonanza Lakes Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"A day hike or overnighter into easily accessible subalpine country in the Bitterroot Range"

Bonanza Lakes Trip Reports

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I took this hike on a whim. The trail is quite long and a bit strenuous in some areas, but the end is worth the means. The lake is loaded with hungry cutthroat trout. I caught my limit, with the largest being around 14 inches. I saw a badger by the creek (first time experience!) There is a nice little camp spot a little ways in, so if you get there late, you don't have to go too far to throw down for the night. As with most of the Bitterroot divide, the scenery is grande. I figure it's about three miles to the lake. Watch for the sign at the junction about two miles in, or you will end up on top of the divide. (It comes shortly after the waterfall). Keep to the right. A momma moose joined me for lunch. She came down while I was having my sandwich and was still there when I left about an hour later.
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Well maintained trail, (except for the huge logs across the trail just a few yards from the trailhead -- not hard to get around them). We saw no one the first 24 hours, and only 5 people the next day.

The old trees along the creek along the creek are really neat. There is a campsite along the creek (not mentioned in the guide). Campsites at Hub lake are quite comfortable with a choice of in the trees or in the open.

Surely the 2 1/2 miles in the guidebook is as the crow flies. It seemed quite a bit longer than that. The steep part is pretty strenuous for a pair of not-quite-in-shape 60-year-olds, but well worth it.

The fish were begging to be breakfast, and we obliged them. This is the most peaceful place I've been in a long time.

Bonanza Lakes Photos

Trail Information

Nearby City
Trail Type
Skill Level
July through September
Lolo National Forest
Local Contacts
USGS Illinois Peak
Local Maps

Trail Log