Gordon Pass - Koessler Lake

Swan Lake, Montana 59911

Gordon Pass - Koessler Lake

Gordon Pass - Koessler Lake Professional Review and Guide

"Gordon Pass is one of the easiest routes over the Swan Range and into the wilderness beyond. The pass itself also has outstanding scenic value, and leads to several lakes that provide excellent fishing. The most accessible of these is Koessler Lake, which rests in a glacier-carved cirque at the foot of the imposing cliff walls of Ptarmigan Peak."

Gordon Pass - Koessler Lake Reviews

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This was an incredible trip. Koessler Lake is an incredibly beautiful lake. The fishing is spectacular (we fished with lures). The campsite is wonderful. The only drawback to this lake is that there really is only one campsite that we found, but it is really good and we had the lake to ourselves. It rained on the way up from Upper Holland Lake to Koessler Lake, and it took us quite a bit of time to get to the lake. If you are going to be hiking in the rain, make sure to give yourself 2-3 hours of extra time to get there because getting around the puddles takes a lot of extra energy and time, especially on the thin trails. Also, when you are near the junction that goes off of the main trail, and goes down the Doctor Lake trail, make sure you keep your eyes out for the sign and the junction. The trail itself goes in the opposite direction as the trail you are on and the sign is partially covered with branches (and so it is difficult to spot). We actually missed this junction and had to go back up the trail a mile before we found it. If you get to a bunch of forest service cabins, you've gone too far. This is by far the best backpacking trip I have been on, even with the big storm that came in on Thursday and Friday of this trip! See my review of the Upper Holland Loop to get an idea of that part of this trip.

Gordon Pass - Koessler Lake Photos

Trail Information

Swan Lake
Nearby City
3,680 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Skill Level
Best July through September
4,050 feet
Trailhead Elevation
6,790 feet
Top Elevation
Flathead National Forest
Local Contacts
USGS Holland Lake, Shaw Creek
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Jul 2018