Lava Lake Hike | Big Sky, Montana

 

Two adults, 3 girls, and 3 dogs go on a hike... what could go wrong?! My friend of a friend - does anyone else have those? I met someone once, exchanged numbers with her, then we decided to go on a 6 mile hike together without the original friend - anyways my new friend Charla texted me asking if I wanted to hike Lava Lake with her and Sienna.

Hiking Lava Lake (Cascade Creek) Trail in Gallatin Canyon near Big Sky, MT

I had been wanting to hike Lava Lake for a while now. I assumed Sienna was another adult. She also mentioned she was going to bring her two dogs and one looked small so I figured I could bring mine. When I texted Charla my address, she kindly offered to pick me up, we realized we lived close by each other. When she showed up at my house, I was a little nervous.

Hiking Lava Lake (Cascade Creek) Trail in Gallatin Canyon near Big Sky, MT

This was the first time I was taking Eli alone for a such a long hike. I am always afraid he will get hurt or tired or worse attacked by another dog. My anxiety subsided though when I got in the car to learn Sienna was her step-daughter around 8 years old. I learned in the car two other girls were going to be joining us.

Hiking Lava Lake (Cascade Creek) Trail in Gallatin Canyon near Big Sky, MT
Hiking Lava Lake (Cascade Creek) Trail in Gallatin Canyon near Big Sky, MT
Hiking Lava Lake (Cascade Creek) Trail in Gallatin Canyon near Big Sky, MT
Hiking Lava Lake (Cascade Creek) Trail in Gallatin Canyon near Big Sky, MT

We drove out to the trail head which wasn't too packed. We decided to park farther away just in case although once we got closer we learned there was closer parking. Because we were farther away we had to walk the dogs along with extremely dangerous road. There was a little walk way on the bridge, between the traffic and the river. I decided to carry Eli, thank goodness for small dogs, but Charla had to walk Mochi along the narrow path with her doggy backpack.

Hiking Lava Lake (Cascade Creek) Trail in Gallatin Canyon near Big Sky, MT
Hiking Lava Lake (Cascade Creek) Trail in Gallatin Canyon near Big Sky, MT
Lava Lake-8.jpg
Hiking Lava Lake (Cascade Creek) Trail in Gallatin Canyon near Big Sky, MT

We finally made it to the trail head and started the long journey up. In reality it's only about 3 miles to the lake with ~1.5 of that being straight up; however, with 3 young girls, girls that I assume don't work out for fun like us older people, it was a long journey up. They stopped about 10 times on the way up, wanting snacks, water, and a break.

Hiking Lava Lake (Cascade Creek) Trail in Gallatin Canyon near Big Sky, MT
Hiking Lava Lake (Cascade Creek) Trail in Gallatin Canyon near Big Sky, MT
Hiking Lava Lake (Cascade Creek) Trail in Gallatin Canyon near Big Sky, MT
Hiking Lava Lake (Cascade Creek) Trail in Gallatin Canyon near Big Sky, MT

Where: Lava Lake Trail
When: July 2018
Trail Distance: ~6 miles
Instagram: #bridoesmontana

Hiking Lava Lake (Cascade Creek) Trail in Gallatin Canyon near Big Sky, MT
Hiking Lava Lake (Cascade Creek) Trail in Gallatin Canyon near Big Sky, MT

Eli did great staying near me although he refused to walk across any amount of water. Everyone we met was friendly and I even ran into a friend who was running, yes running, the trail.

Hiking Lava Lake (Cascade Creek) Trail in Gallatin Canyon near Big Sky, MT
Hiking Lava Lake (Cascade Creek) Trail in Gallatin Canyon near Big Sky, MT
Hiking Lava Lake (Cascade Creek) Trail in Gallatin Canyon near Big Sky, MT

Eventually we made it to the top, the girls and I hooting and hollering. While relaxing at the top I heard quite a few people exclaim as they saw the lake so I think that is common. At the lake the girls and the dogs went in the water. I did not nor did Eli.

Hiking Lava Lake (Cascade Creek) Trail in Gallatin Canyon near Big Sky, MT
Hiking Lava Lake (Cascade Creek) Trail in Gallatin Canyon near Big Sky, MT
Hiking Lava Lake (Cascade Creek) Trail in Gallatin Canyon near Big Sky, MT
Hiking Lava Lake (Cascade Creek) Trail in Gallatin Canyon near Big Sky, MT

I didn't have a life vest for him or a towel. I figured if I got in and swam with him he might do okay but I didn't want to traumatize him. The girls had fun playing, although Sienna fell her scraped her back - she was fine though! Eli isn't much of a sitter so he spent most of the time running around. I felt like I needed to keep an eye on him in case he met unfriendly dogs or people.

Hiking Lava Lake (Cascade Creek) Trail in Gallatin Canyon near Big Sky, MT
Hiking Lava Lake (Cascade Creek) Trail in Gallatin Canyon near Big Sky, MT
Hiking Lava Lake (Cascade Creek) Trail in Gallatin Canyon near Big Sky, MT
Hiking Lava Lake (Cascade Creek) Trail in Gallatin Canyon near Big Sky, MT
Hiking Lava Lake (Cascade Creek) Trail in Gallatin Canyon near Big Sky, MT

I was hoping he would eat some food - I had brought a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and crackers - but he didn't. My friend had dog food I thought he might like but he wasn't feeling that either. Next time I need to bring a variety of snacks for both of us. Half a sandwich and crackers wasn't enough for me and he was too picky. I got so hungry so I figured he did too. Anyways, after a few hours of enjoying the view we walked back down the trail.

Hiking Lava Lake (Cascade Creek) Trail in Gallatin Canyon near Big Sky, MT

The way back down was obviously quicker.

Hiking Lava Lake (Cascade Creek) Trail in Gallatin Canyon near Big Sky, MT
Hiking Lava Lake (Cascade Creek) Trail in Gallatin Canyon near Big Sky, MT

Overall it was a fun day. I didn't mind the girls wanting to go slow and I enjoyed the views at the top. If you've been following me for a while now you can tell my priorities have changed. In pharmacy school I mostly blogged about fashion and makeup. Then when I was moving and traveling all the time I wrote a lot of travel guides.

Hiking Lava Lake (Cascade Creek) Trail in Gallatin Canyon near Big Sky, MT
Hiking Lava Lake (Cascade Creek) Trail in Gallatin Canyon near Big Sky, MT

And of most recently I am blogging about hiking, the outdoors, and Montana. For the foreseeable future I am going to stay in Montana and explore. Therefore I am going to try to create guides for each major city, national park, and state park. It's fun that this platform allows me to change and grow as I change and figure out what is important to me.

Hiking Lava Lake (Cascade Creek) Trail in Gallatin Canyon near Big Sky, MT
Hiking Lava Lake (Cascade Creek) Trail in Gallatin Canyon near Big Sky, MT