If you’re looking for off-the-beaten-path fun in Montana, Twin Lakes in the Bitterroot National Forest certainly qualifies. And getting there is definitely part of the fun if you like dodging potholes and negotiating washboard on dirt roads that are best driven in a high clearance vehicle. Driving south of Hamilton on Highway 93, Alan and I discovered the two alpine lakes at the top of Lost Horse Canyon after an approximately 18-mile journey on Forest Road #429 with the final two miles on Forest Road #5606.
The bumpy ride parallels One Horse Creek for much of the way. It’s tempting to pull off on one of the turnouts to sit in the shade, listen to the creek and chill out. In fact, we made a pact to return one day to do just that.
Twin Lakes sits at 7,200 ft. making it a fun spot to cool off in the summer. There’s also an opportunity for day hikers to experience alpine trails leading into the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness without backpacking. Moose Creek Trail #421 over Lost Horse Pass and Wahoo Creek Trail over Wahoo Pass leave from the Twin Lakes Trailhead. On our visit, we didn’t find the insects to be a problem although we understand it can get quite buggy. And hiking with bear spray is a good idea, too.
Schumaker campground at Twin Lakes has 21 designated campsites, water and vault toilets for those who want to get an early start on hiking, fishing or commune for a bit longer with nature (and abundant wildlife). On our next visit, Alan and I will be staying at Lose Horse Creek Lodge about halfway to Twin Lakes to give us more time for day hikes.