Escape the hustle and spend time at an alpine lake, deep in the wilderness, where moonrise, sunset and sunrise reveal new depths of beauty. With grit and legwork, many backcountry lakes can be reached in 2-5 hours as a day hike or overnight backpacking trip. Here are some ideas to get you started.

  • Heart Lake: Lolo National Forest. Bitterroot Mountains in western Montana, near the town of Superior. 6 miles round-trip.
  • Stevens Lakes: Idaho Panhandle National Forest. The trailhead is near Wallace, Idaho. Hike to the upper and lower lakes (5 miles round-trip).
  • Hub Lake: Easy access off I-90 to this alpine lake in the Lolo National Forest. 6 miles round trip.

All these lakes and their associated hiking trailheads are included in the 100 Hikes in the Inland Northwest guidebook by Rich Landers and the Spokane Mountaineers.