Crystal Lake is a 186 acre alpine lake on the outskirts of the Mission Mountain Wilderness. Since our snow pack was fairly insignificant this year, I thought I’d test my luck at some higher elevations a little earlier than normal. So after breakfast at the farmer’s market, my friend Ryan and I set off down Highway 200 in the Baja ready for adventure.
Our initial plan was to hike to a different lake in the same area, but after a slight confusion we found ourselves at the trailhead for Crystal Lake. Already ten miles down a forest service road, we decided to stay where we were at and descend the almost 1,000 feet to Crystal Lake.
The trail was beautiful and lush this time of year and, with the exception of a few small patches of snow, perfectly clear. We even spotted a little wildlife along the way too.
My favorite part of this trail were the numerous log bridges/walkways constructed over the marshy areas of the trail.
The lake was a beautiful setting to relax on the warm rocks and do a little sunbathing. Until your sopping wet beauceron that has been swimming in the ice cold water decided to join you on said rock.
After spending part of the day exploring the shores of this beautiful lake we decided it was time to make the 2 trek back up to the Baja. It wasn’t without a few breaks to stop and smell amazing scents of the beautiful ponderosa forest and the flowers.
Of course, no day in the summer in Missoula is complete w/ out a trip to Big Dipper.