Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness: Aero Lakes

August 18, 2023  •  1 Comment

Aero Lakes has been on our list since 2018. For whatever reason, it didn’t line up for us to put on the books until last year, 2022. In June there was the flood and access was difficult so we pushed it to this summer. Then the weekend we were supposed to do it, it was like 80% chance of rain and thunderstorms so we pushed it back one final time. 

We started from the Lady of the Lakes upper TH and set off for a camp spot at Upper Aero Lake. The trail was mostly through the forest with occasional views along the Zimmer River.

20230811-jwf-892920230811-jwf-8929NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20230811-jwf-894820230811-jwf-8948NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20230811-jwf-896120230811-jwf-8961NPS / Jacob W. Frank

Once we crossed the river, the trail gains about 1,000 feet in a mile as you approach Lower Aero Lake.

20230811-jwf-896920230811-jwf-8969NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20230811-jwf-897520230811-jwf-8975NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20230811-jwf-898220230811-jwf-8982NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20230811-jwf-898920230811-jwf-8989NPS / Jacob W. Frank

Near the foot of the lake, the trail turns into more of a route as you navigate around the lake.

20230811-jwf-899320230811-jwf-8993NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20230811-jwf-900620230811-jwf-9006NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20230811-jwf-903020230811-jwf-9030NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20230811-jwf-903620230811-jwf-9036NPS / Jacob W. Frank

Our plan was to camp at the upper lake, but we were starting to get tired and it was nearing dinner time. So once we made it to the head of the lower lake, we decided to see if we could find a nice camp spot, which we did. The spot came with views of two waterfalls and a reflection pond with a backdrop of Mount Villard.

Once the tent was up, we cracked our beers and went for a swim, then made dinner as the sun dipped below the horizon.

20230811-jwf-904420230811-jwf-9044NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20230811-jwf-906420230811-jwf-9064NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20230811-jwf-907320230811-jwf-9073NPS / Jacob W. Frank

The next morning I woke up to some spectacular scenery. The wind had died down and the sun was just starting to come up.

20230812-jwf-908220230812-jwf-9082NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20230812-jwf-909020230812-jwf-9090NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20230812-jwf-910620230812-jwf-9106NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20230812-jwf-911320230812-jwf-9113NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20230812-jwf-911620230812-jwf-9116NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20230812-jwf-912020230812-jwf-9120NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20230812-jwf-912220230812-jwf-9122NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20230812-jwf-913220230812-jwf-9132NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20230812-jwf-914720230812-jwf-9147NPS / Jacob W. Frank

After taking in the sunrise, we ate breakfast and headed out for our layover day. The plan was to head to the upper lake, and both saddles between Rough and Sky Top lakes.

20230812-jwf-921920230812-jwf-9219NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20230812-jwf-922020230812-jwf-9220NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20230812-jwf-923620230812-jwf-9236NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20230812-jwf-924720230812-jwf-9247NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20230812-jwf-925220230812-jwf-9252NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20230812-jwf-926020230812-jwf-9260NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20230812-jwf-927420230812-jwf-9274NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20230812-jwf-927820230812-jwf-9278NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20230812-jwf-929120230812-jwf-9291NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20230812-jwf-929420230812-jwf-9294NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20230812-jwf-931220230812-jwf-9312NPS / Jacob W. Frank

Once we made it to the pass above Sky Top Lakes, we decided to eat lunch and take in the views of Montana’s tallest mountain, Granite Peak. The wind picked up and the clouds started to build, so we decided to head back to camp.

20230812-jwf-935620230812-jwf-9356NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20230812-jwf-939220230812-jwf-9392NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20230812-jwf-941220230812-jwf-9412NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20230812-jwf-941820230812-jwf-9418NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20230812-jwf-942420230812-jwf-9424NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20230812-jwf-943420230812-jwf-9434NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20230812-jwf-944720230812-jwf-9447NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20230812-jwf-945120230812-jwf-9451NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20230812-jwf-945420230812-jwf-9454NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20230812-jwf-945620230812-jwf-9456NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20230812-jwf-946320230812-jwf-9463NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20230812-jwf-949220230812-jwf-9492NPS / Jacob W. Frank

The hike out was a little windy, but our packs were lighter and the views were incredible with blue skies.

20230813-jwf-950020230813-jwf-9500NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20230813-jwf-952520230813-jwf-9525NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20230813-jwf-952920230813-jwf-9529NPS / Jacob W. Frank

We really enjoyed this area and it seems that there is a ton to explore. We were happy with our camp spot and we could stay in the same location for a whole week and do different day hikes each day. Here is the profile from the trip in one direction to our highest point.

Screen Shot 2023-12-29 at 6.33.46 PMScreen Shot 2023-12-29 at 6.33.46 PM Screen Shot 2023-12-29 at 6.36.14 PMScreen Shot 2023-12-29 at 6.36.14 PM

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed the photos!


Comments

Linda Thornton(non-registered)
Beautiful and interesting. Thanks for posting. Cheers
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