Cliff Lake Bench

3/5 (6 reviews)
Cameron, Montana ( County)
Last Updated: 09/18/2022
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Trail Information

Highlights

Cliff Lake Bench is a trail that is less frequently traveled than other trails in the area with excellent views of the surrounding mountains. Located in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, this narrow path through the grass is unlike the tree-covered trails you drove on to get to this point. This trail takes you through picture-perfect grass fields that will be full of wildflowers around early June. The view from the top of the hill is definitely worth the drive. In addition to countless cows, you may be lucky enough to observe a herd of elk or a lonely coyote. This trail and all connecting trails are also dog-friendly.

Trail Difficulty and Assessment

Trail Navigation

Trail Reviews

3/5 (6 reviews)
Cory W
Official Crew
26500
Status: Open
Rated 3/5
Visited: 06/19/2022

This is one of those trails you rarely see anyone else on, which is a good opportunity for spotting critters. Today and elk hung out and watched as we drove by. Later in the year, there are usually large herds up here.
Trail Review: Cliff Lake Bench - Cory W
Trail Review: Cliff Lake Bench - Cory W
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Cory W
Official Crew
26500
Status: Open
Rated 3/5
Visited: 09/18/2021

We hit many trails this afternoon looking for critters. We started out crossing the Madison River at Hutchins Bridge, heading up West Fork Madison to Standard Creek, turning left at Soap Creek, and following it through Flatiron Mountain and Freezeout Creek, making the loop back to Standard Creek. The trails were in great shape. Once back at Standard Creek Road, we were amazed to have seen nine deer on this short loop, so we decided to head back down Standard Creek to West Fork Madison, where we saw a doe and two tiny fawns, then up Jackpine Gulch to East Bench. We had to clear a couple of downed trees from East Bench; otherwise, there were no issues with this trail. We saw two more deer on the way in and hiked around the end of the trail for a few. It was a surprise looking through the charred tree at how close we were to Cliff Lake. Headed back out, we took Jackknife out to Cliff Lake Bench and watched the sunset. Driving out in the twilight, we saw a couple of elk and a few more doe and fawn. All in all, on this trip we saw 19 of these four-legged critters. That's usually pretty close to our tally for an entire summer. For one evening, that was amazing!
Trail Review: Cliff Lake Bench - Cory W
Trail Review: Cliff Lake Bench - Cory W
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Cory W
Official Crew
26500
Status: Open
Rated 3/5
Visited: 09/08/2021

The Goose Fire area closure order was rescinded on October 7th, allowing the reopening of the following trails: Cliff Lake Bench Conklin Lake East Bench Elk Lake Jackknife Jackpine Gulch South Bench The condition of the affected trails is unknown and will be updated soon.
Cory W
Official Crew
26500
Status: Temporary Closure
Rated 3/5
Visited: 07/11/2021

Due to the Goose Fire, the following trails have been temporarily closed: Conklin Lake Elk Lake Road beyond Elk Lake to Hidden Lake is closed Jackpine Gulch Jackknife Cliff Lake Bench South Bench East Bench EDIT: Updated closure map July 16, 2021 Currently, the West Fork Madison River is the edge of the closure area. The closure order with a map can be found here: Goose Fire Closure Order
Trail Review: Cliff Lake Bench - Cory W
Cory W
Official Crew
26500
Status: Open
Rated 3/5
Visited: 09/04/2020

Today was a busy day in the mountains. All the campsites we passed on the way to this trail were full and a lot of people out exploring the dusty roads. Cliff Lake Bench was a nice escape, was just us and the cows.
Trail Review: Cliff Lake Bench - Cory W
Trail Review: Cliff Lake Bench - Cory W
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