Statistics: 10 miles round trip, ascent 2,000 feet.
The Hyalite Canyon area has multitudes of hiking options. This hike is about 21 miles from Bozeman, up Hyalite Canyon Rd. beyond the Hyalite reservoir. The first 3 1/2 miles are, for the main part, a steady climb through the forest. The trail often parallels or crosses the East Fork of Hyalite Creek which occasionally presents the hiker with tumbling waterfalls.
Soon after a series of rocky switchbacks up the mountain, the trail levels out in a lovely mountain meadow with Hyalite Creek rushing by.
Beyond this meadow, a gradual uphill trail carries on toward Emerald Lake.
Finally, at the base of Mount Chisholm, we arrived at the lake.
Emerald Lake is one of two lakes that sit beneath a large cirque that is partly comprised of Mount Chisholm and Overlook Mountain. After resting to enjoy this peaceful scene, we pressed on to visit the second lake, Heather Lake, walking through wildflower-strewn meadows.
With a little more climbing, we crested a hill and there was Heather Lake, quite a mountain jewel!
Walking around the lake, we noticed a path leading up to the base of the cirque. We discovered many wildflowers as we ascended this trail.
Heather Lake was definitely the highlight of this hike, so we decided to walk a little further for a better vantage point of the lake and its surroundings.
Continuing around the lake, we returned to the path which had brought us here, taking in one more view of Emerald Lake.
Before we descended into the forest and toward the completion of this two-lake route, we took a little time to have a snack and enjoy the beauty of the area.