The Beginning

Leaving the pavement of Highway 287 you drive southwest six miles to the cabins. A mile into the drive you’ll cross the Madison River. A half mile further you’ll pass through the ghost town of Cliff Lake. Be on the lookout for antelope, deer, coyotes, badgers, marmots and bald eagles. The other animals you are bound to see are the cattle that range on the Missouri Flats. All along the way the horizon is dotted with abandoned cabins of homesteaders who once lived on the flats and sent their children to the one room schoolhouse in Cliff Lake Town.


The next four miles of rolling sagebrush is also home to Rocky Mountain bluebirds, magpies, sage grouse and numerous species of hawks. About the time you decide that the lake must be surrounded by sagebrush and cattle, you crest a final hill and enter the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest. The view changes from sagebrush flats surrounded by high mountain peaks to a natural lake in a pine forest dotted with aspen.