Montana Trail No. 525 to Canyon Falls, Canyon Lake, Wyant Lake, and East Lake. Bitterroot Selway Wilderness Hamilton, MT

Total Distance:  9.7 mi
  3.9 miles to East Lake / top of Canyon Falls(approx)
  4.1 miles to Canyon Lake
  4.9 miles to Wyant Lake (approx)
Total Time: 9:26 (including breaks, lunch etc)
Average Speed: 2mph
Ascent: 3124

Classified as a 'difficult' this offers great views of Canyon Falls along with Canyon and Wyant Lake but be prepared to run into other hikers.

View Canyon Lake 20120704 in a larger map

At 8am there were already several cars in the parking lot which is for hiking both Canyon Creek Trail and the Blodgett Canyon Overlook.

The trail starts off easy for the first 3 miles although it is a little rocky and you will want to watch your step.  There are ups and downs, in the woods towards Canyon Creek then peaking back out to the rock walls towards the North, saying hello to the passers by.  For this stretch with an average grade of 9% we averaged around 2mph and gained 1440ft in elevation.

For the next half a mile you start heading up, with an average 35% grade we gained 900ft and averaged .9 mph.  Once at the top you flatten out a bit and skirt the rock face heading West with minimal views of the falls.  At this point you reach approximately 7385ft in elevation and start heading back down towards the lake.

Almost a half mile later, losing 140ft while then gaining back 77ft you reach the East side of Canyon Lake at an altitude of 7323ft.

We followed the trail along the North side of the lake heading and then uphill towards the North West when we decided to get creative heading up towards Wyant Lake.  We picked our way across the East facing rocks above Canyon Lake and made above Wyant Lake approximately 1500ft North of Wyant Lake.  This can be tricky, wet, and steep so pay attention, at one point it took us 18 minutes to travel 128ft while gaining 126ft for a 101% grade topping out at 7857ft.

Wyant Lake is very nice and appears to be more secluded, but don't be surprised when you run into more hikers.  Great views of the surrounding points, Canyon Lake and the valley below.

On the way back down we decided to come down the rocks due West of Canyon Lake which was less tricky but still segments show anywhere from a -59% to -23% grade.  Bushwhacking part way around the North side of Canyon Lake we meed back up the the trail and follow it to the stream connecting to East Lake.

East Lake is surrounded by quite a bit of marsh and is not much more than a puddle.

From here we headed for the top of Canyon Falls.  From the top views through to the valley below are impressive, but the camera angles weren't quite there so we decided to climb down the large rock field along the North side of the Falls to reach the bottom.

Spanning around a fifth of a mile we descended approximately 480ft to the bottom of the falls.

From here we bushwhacked across and along the stream to meet back up with the trail, a little thick and wet here and there but no trouble and worth the hike.

1 comment:

  1. This is an outstanding review for this hike. Well done. Fishing in canyon lake is good, filled with hungry Cutthroats and Rainbows averaging about 12". I hear there are bigger fish in the deeper holes in the south side of the lake. I don't know about Wyant lake yet. I would think that it is good fishing as well.

    The hike up the canyon wall mentioned above is brutal. Take plenty of water for the hike up the wall to Canyon Lake. I was able to drink directly out of Canyon Lake without any problems (no Giardia).