Montana Outdoors

April 10, 2009

Annual Burgess Lake visit

Filed under: Montana, Nature, Outdoors, Photography, Photos, Pictures — Tags: — montucky @ 9:54 pm

At least once a year I try to remember to visit Burgess Lake, a small lake on the southwest end of the Flathead Reservation. It is accessed by a half mile long trail that climbs about four hundred feet up from Montana Highway 200. It’s a steep, rocky and rough little trail which might explain why the lake gets few human visitors.

Burgess Lake trail

About half way up the trail there is this rather nice bed of moss which seems to do quite nicely in an otherwise completely rocky draw.

Along the Burgess Lake trail

The lake of about four acres in size sits on a little shelf on the north slope of the Coeur d’Alene Mountains above the Flathead river and rumor has it that it contains some sizable Cutthroat Trout. The same rumor says that this is the rattlesnake capitol of western Montana. I can’t vouch for the truth of either rumor.

Burgess Lake

It’s a rather private, pretty place where one can relax on a spring day and enjoy observing the daily routines of several dozen pairs of ducks who believe they own the lake and very loudly argue their case.


  1. Don’t we all have a fantasy about a secret place where we can go, a beautiful oasis undiscovered heretofore by mankind? This spot is that perfect secret place of dreams…except for the rattlesnakes. I suppose a herpetologist would be in heaven though.


    Comment by Tabbie — April 11, 2009 @ 2:48 am

    • This particular spot is nice because it doesn’t get a lot of traffic yet it doesn’t take long to get there.

      There are several places here that are like what you described, Tabbie. I often find that kind of solitude in the roadless areas on trails on the high ridges. Sometimes I get a ridge or two over from the trail and wonder if there was even another human footprint there. It’s a wonderful, peaceful, comfortable feeling to be so immersed in the natural world.


      Comment by montucky — April 11, 2009 @ 8:01 am

  2. I long for a small lake with a little log cabin,… remote. Ahhhh dream on! I could live in a natural area like that!


    Comment by Cedar — April 11, 2009 @ 6:57 am

    • I would like that too, but those opportunities are no more: the ones that used to exist have all been destroyed by development. However, there are many places like that in the roadless areas of the National Forests where a tent can be pitched and I can settle for that.


      Comment by montucky — April 11, 2009 @ 8:09 am

  3. I could spend a lot of time at a small lake like this. In the last photo, there are partial tree trunks near the lake edge. Beaver chomp? 🙂


    Comment by Anna Surface — April 11, 2009 @ 7:08 am

    • Me too, Anna, and I do. I prefer the very remote ones that are accessible only by foot because those who visit there are ones who understand, respect and care for the country. I have favorite places to which I return often.

      I think it may have been a change in the water level that led to the demise of those trees at the water’s edge. This lake does not have a visible stream entering or leaving it and so the beavers have never been able to find it.


      Comment by montucky — April 11, 2009 @ 8:15 am

  4. These kind of places are so very important. John Muir sums it up well with this quote: “In God’s wildness lies the hope of the world – the great fresh unblighted, unredeemed wilderness. The galling harness of civilization drops off, and wounds heal ere we are aware.”


    Comment by Maureen — April 11, 2009 @ 9:44 am

    • I agree with so much that Muir said! There is an increasing amount of pressure on the roadless areas and indeed the true wilderness areas in Montana. We are in very serious danger of losing them. I enjoy them and try to let others see what I have seen, but I’m afraid it is a matter of only a very short time until they are all gone and the world will be so much worse off.


      Comment by montucky — April 11, 2009 @ 10:18 am

  5. Great shots, it seems like you must be living your life in hiking boots.


    Comment by rvewong — April 11, 2009 @ 11:10 am

    • Thanks rvewong. Since I retired I am in hiking boots as much as I possibly can be. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do.


      Comment by montucky — April 11, 2009 @ 4:16 pm

  6. The lake is beautiful!


    Comment by Camilla — April 11, 2009 @ 12:46 pm

    • Yes, it’s pretty and I hope it will always stay that way.


      Comment by montucky — April 11, 2009 @ 4:17 pm

  7. Loving the mossy area…rattlesnakes..not so much. Such a beautiful place. I don’t understand how humans fail to appreciate such a gift.


    Comment by SuzieQ — April 12, 2009 @ 1:04 pm

    • I don’t understand either, SuzieQ. I tend to expect more folks visiting places like that where it isn’t too difficult. I guess many people prefer more “controlled” areas as in the parks.


      Comment by montucky — April 12, 2009 @ 1:43 pm

  8. I don’t think I’d want to fish enough to find out if the rattlesnake rumor was true! those kinds of rumors would keep me out of just about anywhere!


    Comment by silken — April 14, 2009 @ 8:40 am

    • They are really not dangerous as long as you are careful where you put your feet and your hands (which you want to be anyway) and keep your eyes and ears open. They are beautiful reptiles and actually quite beneficial in keeping the rodent population under control.


      Comment by montucky — April 14, 2009 @ 10:24 am

  9. ok, I’ll give them credit for keeping the rats away!


    Comment by silken — April 16, 2009 @ 8:35 pm

  10. Ooooooo!! Beautiful!

    What a lovely place!


    Comment by gradschoolsara — April 19, 2009 @ 9:59 am

    • I don’t remember if I showed you where the trail to that is, but it’s just a short hike from Hwy 200.


      Comment by montucky — April 19, 2009 @ 9:44 pm

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