Montana Outdoors

September 14, 2012

Evans Lake (2) – The Lake

While studying the USFS map prior to a previous hike to Blossom Lakes and Pear Lake in the Evans Gulch Roadless Area, I also studied the area around Evans Lake which sits just below the high ridge separating Idaho and Montana a few miles east of Pear Lake and made a mental note that I would like to go there some time. Not long after, a hiking friend mentioned it as a possible trip and I jumped at it.

Evans Lake Trail head

August 15, 2012 USFS Trail 696. Elevation at trail head ~ 3500 ft. Elevation at Evans Lake 5500 ft.

For the most part the day was dark and the forest was dark and therefore I didn’t take pictures along the trail even though it is a beautiful trail with some very nice switchbacks just before the lake. I had been cleared recently, but I think by an outfitter because he cut his initials on some of the larger cuts with his chain saw.

Like so many of the mountain lakes in this area the first views of them from the trail are from above.

Evans Lake

Evans Lake

Evans Lake

Evans Lake


Evans Lake

Evans Lake

Evans Lake

Evans Lake


  1. Beautiful! I’ve always been tempted when driving toward Thompson Falls from Thompson Pass to check out the trails I see signs for. This gives me more inspiration. I’m assuming it’s not nearly as heavily traveled as Blossom Lakes?

    Comment by aarontheisen — September 14, 2012 @ 10:15 pm

    • This one seems to get quite a bit of traffic for some reason, possibly for fishing. The lakes above Blossom though, judging by the trail, don’t get much traffic, especially Pear Lake.

      Comment by montucky — September 14, 2012 @ 10:22 pm

  2. It’s beautiful but all I can think of is how did you not meet a bear?

    Comment by wordsfromanneli — September 14, 2012 @ 10:29 pm

    • I saw no bear sign up there at all. That is in the Coeur d’Alene Mountains though and about 30 miles east of there I’ve seen many bears.

      Comment by montucky — September 14, 2012 @ 10:32 pm

      • How is the blue grouse population in the area where you were hiking (Coeur D’Alene Mountains)?

        Comment by wordsfromanneli — September 15, 2012 @ 1:39 pm

        • I’ve seen more Spruce Grouse there than blues. Two weeks ago though I saw a lot of big blues about 40 miles from there in the Cabinets.

          Comment by montucky — September 15, 2012 @ 4:21 pm

  3. I love the sign -to provide a non-motorized recreational experience – and it is beautiful too.

    Comment by badwalker — September 14, 2012 @ 10:34 pm

    • Thankfully we still have a lot of trails like that in this region, partly because they are so rugged they are just not suitable for ATV’s. I would not ever use a trail that was open to OHV use; there would be no point.

      Comment by montucky — September 14, 2012 @ 10:54 pm

  4. Wow – the scale of everything is just breathtaking. Superb photos!

    Comment by Jo Woolf — September 15, 2012 @ 3:12 am

    • Yes, it’s big, wild and rugged country there.

      Comment by montucky — September 15, 2012 @ 4:25 pm

  5. Such a beatiful place! It’s amazing how the steep mountainside meets the lake with no flat shore in between. Also amazing that there is still snow there! That spot must not get any sun at all.

    Comment by New Hampshire Gardener — September 15, 2012 @ 5:01 am

    • Many of these cirque-area lakes sit right up against the cirque wall. It makes them look quite dramatic, and when that wall is to the south of the lake, it gets hardly any sun. It also collects a very deep bank of snow by the end of winter.

      Comment by montucky — September 15, 2012 @ 4:29 pm

  6. What causes the patches of less-heavily forested mountainside? Is it disease? Simple erosion of the land? Especially rocky areas that don’t allow the trees to take hold? I do love that first photo of the lake, from above. Sometimes a glimpse is as good as a panorama!

    Comment by shoreacres — September 15, 2012 @ 6:33 am

    • The bare places contain very shallow soil on the rocks or none at all. There is often enough soil for grass and flowers but not enough to support a tree. It’s often amazing to see all of the places where trees actually can grow. I like those glimpses as you close in on the lake. They are teasers until you can finally break through the trees and get a clear view. Sometimes on these trails all you ever get to see of the surrounding area are little glimpses like that.

      Comment by montucky — September 15, 2012 @ 4:33 pm

  7. I noticed how the mountains tumble right to the water, too. What a wild and beautiful area!

    Comment by sandy — September 15, 2012 @ 10:59 am

    • Wild and beautiful it is! Part of the allure of the roadless areas and one of the main reasons why I can’t stay away from them.

      Comment by montucky — September 15, 2012 @ 4:34 pm

  8. I like the dense forest. What a beautiful lake hidden within it. Nice to see vehicles are forbidden year around.


    Comment by knightofswords — September 15, 2012 @ 11:46 am

    • Yes, this is natural, wild country, fit for man and horse, but not for thrill machines. Fortunately, many of these trails are steep and rough enough that they just won’t accommodate OHVs.

      Comment by montucky — September 15, 2012 @ 4:37 pm

  9. so beautiful; like scenes from a movie! looks like a wonderful hike!

    Comment by skouba — September 15, 2012 @ 12:01 pm

    • Yes, it is a great hike! Long enough to get you good and tired, but pretty enough to not mind that in the least. And it sure replenishes the soul!

      Comment by montucky — September 15, 2012 @ 4:38 pm

  10. Beautiful photos!!

    Comment by allbymyself09 — September 15, 2012 @ 12:50 pm

    • Thanks Barbara! Can’t go wrong in that country!

      Comment by montucky — September 15, 2012 @ 4:38 pm

  11. My kind of territory. The lake looks like it would be excellent fishing. And the scenery is really striking!

    Comment by Wild_Bill — September 15, 2012 @ 4:26 pm

    • I know you would love it, Bill! I could see trout from the shore, and I know it is fishable, but they are not large. Excellent for a good breakfast though!

      Comment by montucky — September 15, 2012 @ 4:40 pm

  12. This lake reminds me of Profile Pond in the Whites – except Profile Pond abuts I-93. However, as in your photos, the mountain does go right into the pond (literally sometimes – that’s where New Hampshire’s Old Man of the Mountain now rests).

    Comment by jomegat — September 15, 2012 @ 5:37 pm

    • Looks like maybe Profile Pond was formed in a cirque formation the same as Evans Lake was.

      Comment by montucky — September 15, 2012 @ 5:43 pm

  13. I haven’t seen anything so ghostly delicate as Indian pipe.

    Comment by Tammy — September 15, 2012 @ 7:39 pm

    • They do have a haunting quality about them, don’t they! They are also very shy, liking the shaded, quiet places in the forest..

      Comment by montucky — September 15, 2012 @ 10:01 pm

  14. That’s so pretty to glimpse the lake below through the pines.

    Comment by Candace — September 16, 2012 @ 2:39 am

    • It is, and I always find it somewhat thrilling when I catch the first glimpse of them.

      Comment by montucky — September 16, 2012 @ 10:43 pm

  15. The crystal clean beauty of this place is awesome. Thanks for taking me to a place I will probably never see myself.

    Comment by bearyweather — September 16, 2012 @ 7:03 am

    • I consider these roadless areas real treasures. They allow us to experience the forests as they have always been in their natural state.

      Comment by montucky — September 16, 2012 @ 10:45 pm

  16. Beautiful lake, Terry…and what incredible cliffs there on the opposite side of the lake…and a HUGE chunk of snow remaining at such a late date in the year.

    Comment by seekraz — September 16, 2012 @ 6:57 pm

    • There are many lakes here that are quite similar to that, some with trails that allow access to them, many that don’t have. I’ve seen many from above only.

      Comment by montucky — September 16, 2012 @ 10:47 pm

      • Seems tempting to make your own trail, then…unless they’re in a cliff surrounded bowl….

        Comment by seekraz — September 16, 2012 @ 10:49 pm

        • Sometimes you can do that, but a lot of this country is not all that friendly due to cliffs, rock slides and downed timber. I am usually content to stay on the USFS trails except to get to the top of a peak. (The pack trails here, unless they were created specifically to a summit, will cross below a peak on their way to other parts.)

          Comment by montucky — September 16, 2012 @ 11:26 pm

          • Makes sense…I’m not often off the trail either, here…unless I’m trying to find one that has disappeared over the seasons.

            Comment by seekraz — September 17, 2012 @ 6:39 am

            • Interesting that you mentioned that! My next outing will likely be looking for a trail that has been decommissioned for a lot of years. I have it on a USFS map from 1956 but it hasn’t appeared on any since at least the 70’s. How hard can it be! I hope the wildlife have kept it visible!

              Comment by montucky — September 17, 2012 @ 8:16 pm

              • Funny coincidence, Terry…good luck with the adventure! Hopefully the deer and other creatures have still been using. :)

                Comment by seekraz — September 17, 2012 @ 8:23 pm

              • “How hard can it be?” Very, in my experience, especially if there are alders involved! They used to call decommissioned trails “manways” and there are some in the Chicago Peak area. We also hiked one former trail that dead-ended at a landslide from the Quake Lake earthquake near Hebgen Lake.

                Comment by Kim — September 19, 2012 @ 11:41 pm

                • This one turned out remarkably well. The animals had kept the tread fairly clear of vegetation, except that some apes from the local Ranger Station burned a few thousand trees in one of their “controlled” burns.

                  Comment by montucky — September 20, 2012 @ 8:56 pm

  17. Looks cold! And beautiful, too. Such wilderness, amazing hike that would be!

    Comment by Bo Mackison — September 16, 2012 @ 10:16 pm

    • That was a cool but not really cold day but the water of course was ice cold. Hiking through the roadless areas is always an amazing experience. I have made dozens of hikes into them and each is a new intrigue.

      Comment by montucky — September 16, 2012 @ 10:49 pm

  18. I think spectacular sums it up nicely!

    Comment by dhphotosite — September 17, 2012 @ 1:25 pm

  19. Looks very serene…

    Comment by Watching Seasons — September 18, 2012 @ 3:51 pm

    • That’s sure a part of the allure. And no motor noise within at least 4 miles!

      Comment by montucky — September 18, 2012 @ 8:17 pm

  20. So wild and so majestic! In my eyes it is a real wilderness. Great post and so beautiful photos.

    Comment by Sartenada — September 20, 2012 @ 11:23 pm

  21. Thanks Matti! It truly is a majestic place.

    Comment by montucky — September 21, 2012 @ 8:10 pm

  22. I really like the photo of the Indian Pipes and the legend that went with them…….

    Comment by Evangeline Art Photography — September 30, 2012 @ 9:41 pm

    • I like seeing them too, and it was so nice of Linda to come up with that legend!

      Comment by montucky — September 30, 2012 @ 10:05 pm

  23. I wanted to plan an overnite trip to Evans lake but I need some info as to the trailhead conditions. How far is the trailhead off of the main road? Do I need a high clearance vehicle to reach it? Thanks

    Comment by David — June 22, 2015 @ 1:47 pm

    • Hi David. I haven’t been to Evans Lake since this trip in 2012 so I don’t know the current conditions. As I recall, the trail head is about a mile from the highway and I don’t remember the road to the trail head being bad, but I drive a Jeep. Your best bet would be to call the Plains/Thompson Falls Ranger Station and ask for trail information and road condition. It would be good to check on whether the trail has been cleared yet this summer anyway and they would be the only ones who would know. The phone number there is 406-826-3821.

      Comment by montucky — June 22, 2015 @ 2:22 pm

      • Thanks for your response, I will call and see if the ranger have any more info. I have shied away from calling ranger stations because it seem when I do Im told basically the same thing. “we have had such severe budget cuts that we don’t have the staff or the time to check road and trail conditions”.

        Comment by David — June 22, 2015 @ 7:20 pm

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