The hike to Blue and Granite Lakes, officially known as Big Timber Creek Trail,
is a popular Crazy Mountain Destination. It follows the beautiful Big Timber Creek
part way before turning upwards towards two beautiful alpine lakes.
Don't miss the views of Big Timber Falls, the camping opportunites, or the chance of catching a rainbow in either of the destination lakes.
From Bozeman, head East on I-90. Take the Big Timber Exit (#367) and turn left to head North. Head through town and keep left at the fork to stay on US 191. After roughly 11 miles, take a left on Wormser Rd. Follow the National Forest Access signs on roughly 15 miles of gravel until you reach the trailhead.
This hike has a few steep climbs, but a lot of flat sections to help to balance it out. Combined with an easy trail to follow, this hike is doable by most.
If you average around 1.5 miles per hour you can reach the lakes within 3 hours. With an hour break at the top, you can be back to the car in 7 hours.
This route starts at 6483 feet above sea level and ends at 8373 feet.
Beautiful lakes, but tough to find a spot to take it all in. The trail winds past a couple of small lakes and ponds before approaching the climb to Blue and Granite Lakes. It then descends and dead ends at a stream between the two lakes. Unfortunately, private land restricts access to much of the available shoreline on Granite, and similarly, the lack of a trail makes Blue tough to explore.
There are 3 bridged creek crossings that give ample opportunities to pump drinking water along the way, not to mention the lakes at the end of the hike. After veering left to follow the trail to Granite & Blue Lakes, the trail ascends sharply. There is a creek crossing here and is the last good pumping spot until you reach the lakes.
A lunch, or at least a big snack is recommended.
The trail is an old road in parts and is plenty wide for walking in groups. Large, loose rocks the majority of the way make the downhill difficult, however.
There are enough stream crossings (with bridges) for your pup to get plenty of water to drink, not to mention the lakes at the end of the hike. Be ready to pass plenty of other dogs along the way though.
There’s roughly 15 miles of gravel heading West off of US 191. Most of it is in pretty good shape, but a few of the miles are rough & rocky, though, I wouldn’t hesitate to drive any car on it.
Beartooth Publishing's Crazy Mountains Map covers this whole hike.
There’s a big lot, but it can fill up. Plenty of gravel road to park on if need be.
There's a vault toilet at the parking lot as well as another in the campground loop.
This hike gets a lot of local weekend traffic.
There are a few brushy spots along the trail on this hike, but it’s mostly pretty wide. Shorts are a suitable choice on a hot day. There’s also enough shade for short sleeves. Sunglasses, as always, are a must.
Footwear: Hiking Boots
Hiking Boots with ankle support are recommended. The majority of the trail consists of large, loose rock and a few muddy spots.
A few mosquitoes will come out around the lakes in the evening. Bring your bug spray if you have it, but you'd be fine without it too.
A nice mix of shade and sun.
You won't have any phone service on this hike.
This is a popular overnight spot. When looking for spots, it might be tempting to walk all the way to “the end” of the hike. You’re actually better off investigating all the spur trails that veer to the right just after you’ve walked past the first couple of small ponds/lakes and are starting to ascend the overlook of Granite and Blue. There are a few nice, private sites on public land that overlook Granite lake that are some of the best we’ve seen in the whole area. Start with these. Also, the Halfmoon Campground at the trailhead provides car camping opportunities.
Take note that if you're camping near the lakes, no campfires are allowed within 1/4 mile.
Big Timber Falls
Within the first mile of the hike, you'll see a small spur trail that veers left. Take it to see Big Timber Falls—It's worth it.
Instead of veering left to head to Blue and Granite, stay right and hike another 1.4 miles to head to Twin Lakes.
Sweet Grass Trails
From Twin Lakes, continue another 3.5 miles to a series of Sweet Grass Trail connections.