Montana’s double secret: Twin Lakes

What would you expect to find after 17 miles of bumpy Montana dirt road?

An abandoned cabin, a lookout tower, or a grizzly bear or two?

How about a pair of subalpine lakes that just beg to pose for a picture.

Twin Lakes as they are called are located at 7,200 feet elevation in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest near the Idaho border. While this scenic place should be on every camper/photographer/wilderness enthusiast’s list, it isn’t easy to find or get to. An ATV or a jeep with good shocks will be needed while trying to avoid all the bumps and crevices in the road.

As you turn onto Lost Horse Road FS429 after passing Darby, MT (don’t forget to visit their smallest MT brewery there –Bandit Brewing Company), keep your eyes peeled towards the left-hand side. You will see lots of areas to pull over to enjoy the creek/water cascading through the rocks, creating small swimming holes with that mountain fresh crystal clear “drink me now” water.

Keep your head swiveling freely and you won’t miss picturesque sites like these.

Finally arriving at our much-anticipated location, I was shocked to discover this, in JULY!

Walking towards the lakes, the air was notably delicious with that organic pine smell. Wildlife warning of moose,  deer, grizzlies was also a nice jolt to the system, considering in our neck of the woods I only have to worry about brown and black bears, which aren’t as vicious. One nervous step at a time, I came across the beauty of the Twin Lakes.

My mom and dad in law and little niece were fishing, but without any luck, while I mastered all the courage I obtained from watching Ice Man videos and doing subsequent cold showers for the past few months and went for a brisk 10-minute swim!

So, if you are in the Montana area and are looking for a dope camping site/swimming hole/fishing spot/IG worthy destination, then Twin Lakes is it! Just don’t tell too many people, as to keep it pristine and untouched! 😉


Need a place to stay, check out one of these super unique Airbnb Montana dwellings.

Published by Alla Ponomareva

Daejeon based portrait and travel photographer/EFL teacher with a passion for traveling on a budget and sharing her stories on her blog www.allaponomareva.com

5 thoughts on “Montana’s double secret: Twin Lakes

  1. Looks gorgeous! I think after living in Korea, my lungs could use a bit of that fresh Montana air! However, not so sure about that whole bear thing! Glad to see there is a brewery nearby! A nice local beer while relaxing near that lake sounds heavenly (as long as the bears stay away)!

  2. How was your swim? Seeing that ice in July didn’t intimidate you from going into the waters? I almost didn’t read your texts because I was just so content looking at your photos. I was almost imagining being there and smelling that “organic pine smell”… It must have been so refreshing.

    1. Pine smell is incredible, even when you first fly into a MT airport (for us its MSO). My swim was great, didn’t get a charlie horse from the cold or anything just a nice leisurely 10 minutes of “Come on guys, get in, its not that bad, let’s go, you can also do it!”

  3. Good to know you need to have a pretty strong vehicle to get there. I have always heard about the Twin Lakes and definitely want to go but with how much I’ve heard about them would have assumed it was easier to get there haha. Looks stunning!

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