Near the Great Burn proposed Wilderness area in Lolo National Forest, Heart Lake is a cruiser of a day hike. It’s the biggest and probably most popular lake in the district. Cutthroat trout swim in the lake and nearby bushes are well-stocked with huckleberries. The Heart Lake Trail (171), about three miles, follows the South Fork of Trout Creek with a spectacular view of the Bitterroot Divide.
The lake sits at 6,000 feet, about 80 miles west of Missoula. It’s a popular day hike on the weekends. The hike can be extended to visit nearby Pearl or Dalton lakes for a two-night backpack trip.