Granite Lake Hike

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Hard
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
5.5-7.5h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
21.4 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
553 m
User Ratings
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Directions to Trailhead

Visit the last remaining glacier-fed pool in the Cabinet Mountains on the Granite Lake Hike. This high country adventure is one of a kind, and the gorgeous alpine setting is a sight to behold. Explore the Kootenai National Forest and indulge in the area’s unrivaled natural beauty.

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Route Description for Granite Lake Hike

The Granite Lake Hike is a high-effort, high-reward type of adventure in the Kootenai National Forest that exhibits a diversity of flora and fauna and spectacular scenery. This epic high-country expedition will take your breath away-both figuratively and literally. Make sure you bring plenty of water or a water filter to stay hydrated as you climb into the alpine. Additionally, it is wise to dress in layers as insurance against changing conditions. Note that there are several creek crossings, most of which are easily navigable with the leveled log bridges—though some may require fording after run-off season before the route is cleared.

Discover the only glacier-fed lake in the Cabinet Mountains on the Granite Lake Hike. This pleasant path explores forests of ponderosa pines, cedars, thimbleberry thickets, moss, ferns, and mountain ash berries occupied by various wildlife, including moose, deer, elk, bears, squirrels, mountain goats, and eagles. Let us not forget to mention that there are beautiful cascading waterfalls to enjoy. While this trek travels high into the cirque bound by the tallest peaks in the range, this adventure is one of the more manageable high-county day hikes in the area—so what are you waiting for? Let’s go! Just don’t forget your camera, you are going to want to document this exciting excursion.

Embark on your journey to Granite Lake from the trailhead off Granite Creek Road. Setting out from here, you will be guided west into the shaded woodlands. Escaping beneath the lush tree canopy, the environment boasts a rainforest-like ambiance. As you climb through the canyon bound by Mount Snowy and Treasure Mountain, the trail will wind, nearing and distancing from Granite Creek. After some hiking, the path will enter the Wilderness boundary and cross over the stream. Shortly after this crossing, you will reach Granite Falls. Take a break here to admire the scene of the tumbling waterfall and to rehydrate.

Resuming the hike, you will once again cross a felled tree over the gurgling stream. Enjoy the reprieve from the elements as you wander beneath the luxuriant closed-canopy through the green underbrush. The route will curve south as you ascend further into the wilderness, paralleling the creek. Mind your footing on the increasingly rocky terrain and marvel at the sights of the surrounding mountains that gradually unfold before you. Ultimately the trail will crest the shoreline of Granite Lake, boasting an awe-inspiring scene. Marvel at the grandeur of the craggy granite ridges that bound the crystalline pool, and while the Blackwell Glacier is not within view, you will notice a dramatic waterfall cascading down the flanks of Snowshoe Peak. Revel in the majesty of the mountains, then head back to the trailhead the way you came.

Trail Highlights

A Peak

A Peak is the second-highest summit in the Cabinet Mountains. Sitting at an elevation of 2,632 m, the craggy peak rises 1,219 m above Granite Lake, framing the blue-hued glacial waters. This impressive granite monolith is a popular climbing destination, so you may see intrepid explorers scaling the mountain’s sheer rock faces.

Insider Hints for Granite Lake Hike

  • Come prepared to navigate several log bridges over Granite Creek
  • Make sure at least one person in your party carries a can of bear spray
  • Wear a sturdy pair of footwear to avoid rolling an ankle on the uneven terrain
  • Consider using trekking poles if you struggle with joint issues
  • Don’t be surprised if the route is obstructed by blowdown
  • Download the trail GPS prior to your departure

Getting to the Granite Lake Hike Trailhead

The Granite Lake Trailhead is accessed from the trailhead at the end of Granite Creek Road.

Route Information

  • Backcountry Campground

    Dispersed Camping

  • When to do

    May-September

  • Pets allowed

    Yes - On Leash

  • Family friendly

    Older Children only

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    Moderate

  • Route Type

    Out and back

Granite Lake Hike Elevation Graph

Weather Forecast

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Granite Lake Hike Reviews

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