JACKSON— Boating, fishing, hiking and biking all merge on the shores of Lower Miner Lake.
This frontcountry Forest Service campground provides fun right out of the car door with a curvy lake to paddle around and trailheads that aim straight for the Continental Divide. Lower Miner Lake has cutthroat and rainbow trout as well as the occasional Arctic grayling in its chilly 54 acres. A restriction on gas-powered motors makes it a quiet place to angle. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks' fishing permits and aquatic invasive species stamps are required to fish.
Beyond the 15-site car campground a rough 2-mile dirt lane leads to the start of several possible backcountry adventures. Upper Miner Lake lies about 4 miles in, while Rock Island Lake sits 4 miles in a slightly different direction. Both have fascinating geology in the shadow of 10,621-foot Homer Young Peak, one of the tallest mountains in the western Big Hole Range. The Rock Island Lake spur connects part of the Continental Divide Scenic Trail.
Upper Miner and Rock Island lakes each have good backpacking campsites. Their trails have moderate climbs through bear habitat, so bring bear spray. Because you’re starting the hike at 7,000 feet elevation and finishing a thousand vertical feet higher, don’t be surprised to feel a little more out of breath than usual.
Mountain bikes are allowed on both trails, although motorized vehicles must stop at the trailhead.