I went to a family reunion near Absarokee, Montana and had to do a little exploring. A group of us decided on the relatively easy hike up to Mystic Lake wedged in a scenic canyon in the Absaroka Beartooth Mountains/Custer National Forest. We had a wide range of ages and capabilities, so we kept the challenge level low and the beauty level high! It was about 4-5 miles to the lake and then another 1 or 2 to the far end for our campsite. The trail was switch-backed at times to help with the elevation gain and was accomplished by the 7 year olds in our group. Of course they weren’t carrying the heavy packs.
The lake was beautiful and the trout fishing was great. We had a fish cook off in the evening with plenty for everyone to eat. There are plenty of hikers and fisher-folks walking through, but the area is large enough to not feel crowded. Since the dam is man-made, you don’t feel like you are too far into the back country, but it was great for a fun overnighter.
We went during the middle of the summer, so the day was warm to hot and the evenings were cool. It did not get as cold as I expected overnight, so I was a little over packed with cool weather gear. If I get up there again, I hope to make it beyond Mystic Lake a little further into the back-country. The scenery is certainly worth the effort!