Directions: From Boulder, travel south on Highway 69 – 33 miles and continue south onto Highway 359 under the interstate through Cardwell to the Indiana University Geological Field Office turnoff at the South Boulder River. From the Cardwell side, turn south onto S Boulder Road and continue 16.5 miles through the mountain town of Mammoth to the trailhead for Lost Cabin Lake.
Travel Time: 2 hours from Boulder WARNING: ROUGH ROAD LAST 3 MILES
Hike Distance: 8 miles round trip
What to bring:
- Hiking boots
- Fishing Gear
- Bear Spray
- Put your name in the Monument
- Fish Lost Cabin Lake
- Camp along S Boulder Creek and hike to some of the other trails in the area including:
- Curly Lake Loop
- Short but steep trip to Louise Lake
This hike is a beautiful family day trip into some huge Montana territory. With the trail head elevation at 7600 feet and the lake elevation at 9150 the trail in is pretty gradual – gaining about 380 feet in elevation per mile. It strolls across the creek multiple times and through a beautiful green meadow. The US Forest Service has done some good work to build a number of bridges crossing the South Boulder and multiple tributaries. The bridges make for some good photo ops and you can take pictures at some of the mini waterfalls along the way. Anywhere is a good place to stop for a sandwich and a snack.
Montana did not have much of a snow year for 2016 but just the same here it is mid-July and there is still some snow to walk through. There are also some good snow slides off the peaks. Nearing the lake you will see a Top of the Mountain Club Monument we built – be sure to sign your name in the jar!
Enjoy lunch along the shore of the crystal clear lake. Try your luck with a fly and rod, we could see the fish swimming under the water.
If you are up for an extra challenge you can even make your way up towards Granite Peak on the backside of the lake. Be cautious especially in the rock slides. You also need to be aware that it is griz country, we saw evidence of a large bear rooting – tearing trees out of the ground and digging for roots and bugs. MAKE NOISE AND CARRY BEAR SPRAY
The aerial view of the lake is breathtaking and you can see other lakes from above as well.
Now for the coolest part of the trip: the personal history behind it. Thirty years ago or so another good friend of mine Randy Herbst and I had a forest contract for this same trail and we built in the water bars and a number of foot log bridges. The bridges are no longer in service but we found three of them still along the trail. We also found a number of water bars still in on the job on the switchbacks up to the lake.