I dug into the archives for this post – The photos from this 2016 trip into the Pioneer Mountains are too good not to share.

Three days, two nights is just right.
I’m more of a day-hiker than I am a backpacker – After a day of hiking I like to have a hot shower, a real bed, and a roof over my head. However, thanks to friends, I’m slowly coming around. I’ll admit, there is something very therapeutic about stuffing everything you need into a pack, walking into the wilderness, and focusing on simple things like food, shelter, and sharing a campfire with friends. It certainly provides a break from all the noise in life and an opportunity to reboot the mind. I’ve enjoyed 4 and 5-day trips, but my notion of the ideal trip is to hike 8-12 miles to an isolated, scenic location, set up camp, climb a mountain on day #2, spend another night at camp, and then hike out the following morning. For good measure, do it with a small group of fun friends, during good weather, beneath a full moon, at a place where there is a good source of water. A trip into Torrey Lake with four friends in June 2016 checked all the boxes, except for the “climb a mountain” part – We didn’t quite make it to the top of Tweedy Peak. (Photo Tour)

There’s something about a campfire.
We did this trip a couple weeks after school let out in June 2016. The group included my friends Kacey and Tristan, and their sons Sam and Brandt. The five of us piled into Kacey’s van on a Tuesday morning, drove 125 miles (from Helena) to the trailhead at Mono Creek Campground in the Pioneer Mountains, and did the 10-mile hike to Torrey Lake in 5.5 hours; a fairly slow pace due to the many trees that winter winds had blown down onto the trail, plus the fact that we gained 3,100 ft. of elevation. The lake sits 8,964 feet above sea level, and skies were clear, so it dropped below freezing both nights. Highlights of the trip included two great evenings around a campfire with 4 really fun people (under a full Moon), the spectacular beauty of the Torrey Lake, and the super-relaxed pace of day #2.

So many lakes, so little time.
Torrey Lake is just one of MANY scenic backcountry lakes scattered around western Montana that serve as great destinations for trips like this. Of course, some are more popular than others, so you might not have the place to yourself as we did. But they’re out there, people! In fact, I just purchased a new guide book titled “100 Classic Hikes: Montana” by Douglas Lorain who lives in Hamilton, Montana. Lorain didn’t try to pick the 100 “best” hikes in the state, but instead featured 100 nice hikes that he has done over the past several years, including several multi-day trips very similar to our Torrey Lake adventure. It’s a GREAT resource and I highly recommend it – I know my list got considerably longer as I paged through it.

Below: This map marks hikes that have been featured on bigskywalker.com so far, including several in Glacier Park – Select full screen to expand, zoom in for more detail, or click on a marker for a link to the post.