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Elk lake is a beautiful high mountain lake in the Bitterroot National Forest, Montana.


Lake Como waterfalls at the bake of the lake. Elk lake is an epic adventure. If you love backpacking, this high mountain lake is a must. Elk lake sits a little over 9 miles behind lake Como near Darby, MT on Bitterroot trail #580. In order to get to trail #580 you must first take trail #502 for about 3 miles around the lake. We cheated, at first light we loaded the canoe with all of our camping gear and zipped across the lake with our dogs following on the shoreline. This saved us a three mile walk. At the back of lake Como you get your first glimpse of true beauty, a nice waterfall. The wilderness area starts only about 1/2 a mile behind these waterfalls.
Morel hunting behind lake Como on the Elk lake trail. The trail is very easy for the first 5 miles or so. It winds through dark old growth forests along a nice trout stream. The forest is full of bear, elk, deer, moose, grouse and who knows what else? If you venture up this trail at the right time of year you will run into tons of wild morel mushrooms. A tasty treat for any backpacker. Watch out for the false morels, there are lots of the lorchels mixed in with the edible morels. As you can see many of them are nice big specimens. If you don't know your mushrooms, don't eat them.
Beautiful jagged rock mountain peak pictures, Bitterroot forest Montana. We went early in the spring so there was lots of fresh water. I like to use my pump, but my friend drinks straight out of the run off. I know it is safe to drink the run off water, but I prefer to not risk getting sick 12 miles from the truck. This is a pristine forest with tons of beautiful jagged peaks. You have to be very careful in the early spring because you have to walk right next to a raging creek in a few spots. My dog decided to jump in. She went off a small waterfall and went under water for a few seconds. She was barely saved by my friend. Good thing he was able to grab her by her pack.
There are tons of waterfalls on the way up the trail to Elk lake. The views will take your breath away. Really I should have taken more pictures, the terrain varies quite a bit. Water falls trickle down steep mountain peaks everywhere you look. The trail was full of water like it was a creek bed. You will want to make sure you are as water proof as possible. My first day in camp two whitetail does came right up to the fire pit and hung out with me for almost 30 minutes. I was so close I could have touched them. I had seen some firewood at another campsite earlier in the day. I went to gather the firewood and on my way back here were my two does standing just off the trail. They decided to join me again for a little walk down the trail back to camp. Good thing I wasn't deer hunting that day. They were looking pretty tasty.
Elk lake pictures.  Nice big high mountain lake. The campsites along the edge of this lake are amazing. Our camping spot had a fresh water spring running right through camp. A moose came into our camp at first light one morning, and went for a splash in the lake waking us up. This is a big deep lake that has tons of trout fishing opportunities. Make sure you bring some of our Mangler inline spinners and deep running crankbaits to help you catch some trout for dinner. The weather can change in an instant, be prepared. It rained on us the whole hike out, and it was snowing by the time we made it to our truck. Hiking to Elk lake was a great trip. One that you shouldn't pass up.