This was actually the first time that I made it over to Montana to go hiking. The Rock Lake trailhead is located about 10 miles northeast of Noxon, Montana, not far off of Highway 200. Payton and I left very early on this Saturday morning in order to get back in time to babysit while my wife went to the driving range. The first three miles of this trail was gradual with little difficulty. There were two old cabins and a couple of campsites off the trail in this first leg. By the time I reached Rock Creek Falls and the old Heidelberg Mine, I was beginning to wonder where the 2,000' elevation gain was. After exploring an old mine shaft and taking a few pictures of the water falls, the climbing began.
During the last mile to Rock Lake, the trail became more narrow, brushy, and difficult. There were a number of switchbacks and the views of the valley were getting better. When Payton and I reached the lake, we were pleasantly surprised by two young women and their daughters. These Montanans had spent the past couple of days camping and swimming at Rock Lake while exploring the surrounding area. After some small talk, they assisted me in taking some photos and I left them to have my brunch. Payton and I took in the scenery for a while and then headed back down. It took me 1 hour and 45 minutes to reach the lake, and on my return I made it down in 1 hour and 5 minutes. This is a good hike that is not too far off the beaten path.