Clayton Lake – Hungry Horse
It was going to be a hot day, the forecast said almost 90… what to do? Of course we still wanted to hike but it would be way too hard on our dog, Ron, in those temps. So we searched around for a lake… there are plenty that you can drive to but that isn’t terribly appealing to us and would probably be very busy on such a hot day. Skimming over topo maps I noticed one just about 2/3 miles out from a trail head over by the Hungry Horse Reservoir, it looked like a decent size too. Having not spent much time hiking in that area yet I was excited and the hike sure didn’t disappoint!
The hike is short, roughly 2.6 miles to hit the lake.
Leaving late morning the temps had already hit 70’s in town. From South Kalispell it took almost two hours to get to the trail head, it got warmer the whole time, of course. At the shady trail head the thermometer read 77 dergrees.
On this particular day my roommate was going to float the river, thus leaving her pup without anything to do. We decided to bring him along to have a fun time as well, better yet he just so happens to be a wonderfully behaved dog.
Check out that handsome devil!
The hike in begins very mellow and flat, there’s a ton of water on the way. Hitting small streams every quarter mile or so was a wonderful thing for this scorching day!
We were stopping every quarter to half mile in shade spots to give the dogs water and cool them down. There was a wonderful breeze every so often that couldn’t have felt better on this day.
About a mile in the climb begins, it’s a pretty gradual incline and there are plenty of switch backs. You’re also greeted by the views an open uphill climb provides.
And even more resting!
Now those are some Hot Dogs! Too corny?
Nice big creek! Aaah, the water is so cool and refreshing. Ron, however, was not keen at all to cross. The water was clipping along pretty quickly so I will admit that we caved and carried him part of the way across.
I can tell you that if you’ve never been to Montana, you’re probably missing out. Even the less scenic hikes here can wow you!
Yay for snow!
The lake is close and I can tell the dogs are getting excited.
The heat dissipates as you hit the lake, feels like 70 instead of 80 and the lake is COLD.
Oh ya, that’s what I’m talking about! Look at this lake. This day we set out on a mission to find a good, cold lake and get some fishing in. Boy did we, we ended up spending about 7/8 hours at the lake. We enjoyed the dogs, got wet in the water, lost several lures, and of course fished.
The dogs had grand time and by the end of that day little Ron was finding any log or rock close to us and napping.
Caught a few keepers.
We’ll definitely be coming back here to camp, the spots are terrific.
Evening sun at the lake.
The trail makes a loop around the lake.
Great hike, even better lake. I would highly recommend even for the less physically inclined. What seems really wild to me is that we didn’t see anyone else the whole day!
You can bet I’ll be back at this lake ;)
Tired pups say, until next time happy trails!
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