Red Lodge Montana - Hiking: Custer National Forest

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Hiking: Custer National Forest

Two day hikes in the Beartooth Ranger District to Woodbine Falls and Mystic Lake.

Recently, I've been spending my spare time hiking around the Red Lodge area in the majestic Beartooth Ranger District of Custer National Forest. Two of which were day hikes to Woodbine Falls and Mystic Lake.

Hike to Woodbine Falls

Woodbine Falls is an amazing cascading waterfall that falls from over 100 feet. The trailhead for Woodbine Falls is located about 7 miles southwest of Nye, MT on Route 419 in the Woodbine Campground. The hike itself is very easy, only ¾ mile in length with switchbacks.

The hike begins as you cross Woodbine Creek. You continue to hike along the creek for a quarter mile, where there are magnificent views of smaller drainages spilling into the creek. The trail follows switchbacks through the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness for the remainder of the trip. As you gain elevation, you will be high enough to look down into the magnificent Stillwater Valley. At the top, there is a vista point offering amazing views of Woodbine Falls—and a perfect place to picnic. And for those who just can get enough, there is a beaten path leading further up the falls. This “trail” leads to the top of the falls, and even more breathtaking views.

Hike to Mystic Lake

Mystic Lake is a man-made reservoir, created to generate power for the hydro-electric dam below. This beautiful body of water is situated high in the Beartooth Mountains at 6,565 feet above sea level. The trailhead for Mystic Lake is located about 14 miles past Fishtail, MT.

This trail is a little tougher than that to Woodbine Falls. The hike to Mystic is 3 miles long and gains 1,200 feet in elevation. The hike begins just south of West Rosebud Lake. For the first mile of the hike, there are spectacular views of the West Rosebud River as it cascades over giant boulders. The first half of the hike is relatively easy, with less elevation gain as compared to the rest of the hike. Mid-way, you come to a sign recognizing your entrance into the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness. As you continue, the trail begins to switch back up boulders, leading you to the top of your hike. From here, you can see for miles back down the valley in which you came. After this point, the trail leads over a hill and down into the valley which holds Mystic Lake. From this vantage point you can see down on Mystic from above. While at Mystic take in the beautiful scenery, go fishing, or take a swim.