The final day of our vacation to Big Sky, Montana, Mr. Mo and I saved the “best for last” activity on our must-do list. We climbed the Lava Lake (Cascade Creek) trail. This is one of our favorite hikes when we visit the Bozeman area. It’s not just our fave – the secret is out. This trail is rated #1 out of 277 trails in the Gallitin Forest on National Geographic’s AllTrails website.
The Lava Lake hike is challenging. This isn’t in the same category as the family-friendly, well groomed Ousel Falls. But, it was easier than this year’s Beehive Basin epic adventure! Lava Lake would not be a good choice for young children or people with medical challenges [such as movement limitations, asthma, or hypertension]. The officially listed 6.0 mile trail (our FitBits clocked it closer to 7.0) has an intense 1600 ft elevation gain that never lets up [definitely gets your heart rate pumpin' and works those glutes!]. This trail is also rocky. VERY rocky. We were glad to be using walking sticks for support and balance going up and back down. It sure seemed much more rocky than we had remembered! [but, great training for our future pilgrimage over the Pyrenees on the Camino Francés - slated 2016]
The day was predicting rain, and sure enough we experienced a bit of light showers going up which made the climb a bit more challenging due to slippery rocks and fresh mud toward the final half mile.
The trail follows along the creek most of the time. We often had to shout to be able to hear each other speak over the roar. It was sure nice to see so much moisture this year in Montana! The last time we visited this region it was in a severe drought condition.
It took us about two hours to make the climb up [1.25 hour back down]. We were really feeling the burn in our quads and glutes, but we took little breaks along the way to catch our breath, giving time to enjoy the smell of the fresh foliage, looking at the wildflowers and even some wild mushrooms.
The reward of this climb cannot be underestimated. Lava Lake and the surrounding bowl is stunning. What a grand reward! There were very few people around. Mr. Mo and I found the perfect secluded picnic spot on a rock which outcropped into the lake with an unobstructed view.
We simply sat together and just soaked up the stillness and majesty. It was a sacred moment, really.
I cannot visit a place like this and not be reminded that God is great. He is real. He has provided such a magnificent earth for us to enjoy! Despite how hard mortality is, we have been provided a beautiful place to live and learn. – MoSop
Enjoy my short video of our “heavenly moment”