Statistics: 6 miles roundtrip, ascent 1000 feet.

To reach the trailhead for this hike, we again drove through the Gallatin Canyon on Highway 191, but this time to Portal Creek Road, a total of 42 miles south of Bozeman.

Hidden Lakes trailhead, with our hiking companions.

Our host for the week, my son, Andrew, and his 5-year-old daughter, Della, joined us for this day’s trek. He suggested this easier route so that Della could complete and enjoy the walk. (Which she did!) The trail began with a gradual, uphill path, eventually becoming steeper with switchbacks up to a forested ridgeline. The reasonably level path provided occasional views of the parallel ridge across the canyon, Levinski Ridge.

View of Levinski Ridge

Throughout the day we crossed several creeks, this one was just before we arrived at the first small lake.

This first of the Hidden Lakes required a final push uphill again.

The first of the Hidden Lakes

After a few minutes investigating this small, forest-lined lake off the trail, we moved back to the path and on to the next Hidden Lake, where we all took a rather brief swim in the very cold water. Not being familiar with this trail and the number of lakes we would encounter, we assumed that this second lake was the final Hidden Lake and turned back toward the trailhead at that point.

Another of the Hidden Lakes

Realizing our error, we walked back up the trail, but were unsuccessful in finding more Hidden Lakes. Later we discovered that additional lakes were beyond our second lake; there are eight mountain lakes altogether. The largest of these is at the base of a substantial cirque; the other seven are scattered throughout the nearby forest, fed by streams coming off the mountainsides. We will have to return to enjoy all eight lakes. Maps are critical to my hikes; I slipped on this one. Next time I will bring my GPS! (The shorter hike probably worked well for Della…)

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