Minneopa Lake, Boatman Lake, Estler Lake

Trail Details

4.86 Round Trip

Elevation Gain
-400ft (you lose elevation on the way from Winneopa Trailhead to Estler Lake)

Difficulty Level

Trailhead Coordinates
45.394502, -112.958378

* Google maps does not give accurate directions – do not rely on them! Reference these coordinates while looking at a road map.

Trail Description

The hike to Minneopa Lake, Boatman Lake, and Estler Lake in the Pioneer Mountains of Montana is an easy hike. Starting from the Minneopa Trailhead you descend down and approach Minneopa Lake very quickly. This lake has a neat backdrop of Tent mountain and Alturas mountains. Continue towards the outlet of the lake and cross the dam. After about a mile, there is a very short side trail leading to the shallow Boatman Lake. From Boatman Lake, the trail gradually descends for just over a mile before arriving at Estler Lake. Estler Lake appears to be the largest of the three. The entire hiking trail passes through a fairly dry and open forest.

* Keep in mind that if you follow the same out-and-back we did, the entire way back to the trailhead is all uphill! Though only gaining roughly 400 ft of elevation.

On our maps it appeared that motorized use is allowed from the other opposite approach to Estler, so you may encounter some 4-wheels, dirtbikes, and other machines at Estler.