Don’t blink or you will miss the small turnout for the boat ramp when driving Highway 56 through the small village of Savage Lake near Troy, Montana. It took a little bit of work to get the boats down and rigged but eventually we launched into the lily pads paddling clockwise around the lake to maximize our view of the surrounding mountains, there seemed to be less development on the north shore of the lake anyway. We paddled close to the shore just off the lily pads with hope of spotting a few critters. We were able to catch a glimpse of a few fish just beneath the surface, none of them very big. As we approached the north end of the lake I could make out something tan moving through the woods down to the lakeshore, it turned out to be a deer coming in for a drink, we paddled quietly and were able to get within 30 feet or so of her before she slowly walked away and disappeared into the trees. We turned our boats east along the shoreline as Cabinet Mountain Wilderness dominated the skyline. Scenery, Grambauer, and Dome Mountain took center stage, and between it all a ribbon of white as Falls Creek Falls carried water from the tallest peaks above to its confluence with Lake Creek and eventually Bull Lake.
We continued our paddle along the northeast end of the lake spotting another deer near the lake shore, what a treat. Lilly pads dominate this part of the lake so we decided to pick a flower for the camp host. I love the lily pads, they give character to the lakeshore and often hold critters such as turtles, fish, and rodents. We paddled our way south along the east side of the lake which was developed. Robin enjoys checking out the cabins along the way, something they often did from the motorboat while growing up at Priest Lake in north Idaho. We paddled past a very nice handmade wood row boat tied to a dock, it was a beautiful craft. The owners were on their porch admiring the view when I complimented their skiff, they responded with a thank you and even offered to let me take her out for a spin, I reluctantly had to decline but was floored by the hospitality. Once past the cabins we reached the shallower south side of the lake and paddled through some tall reeds hoping to not get hung up on the lake bottom, it looked pretty mucky down below. As we rounded the south end of the lake we passed several cabins, this was obviously the busy part of the lake with most of the development. We eventually found ourselves heading north on the west side of the lake and could now make out the sound of vehicles zipping down highway 56. We passed cabin after cabin until we reached an opening in the shoreline which turned out to be the boat ramp. What a great trip, Savage Lake is a great place to paddle and much quieter than Bull Lake. The whole trip was a leisurely 1.5 miles which is the way i like it when i’m paddling with the kiddos. At the ramp it took a while to rig the boats on the roof but it also gave us time to talk to a local gal who gave us a short list of other paddle worthy destinations in the area, turns out Alvord and Kilbrennan Lakes are gonna have to be kayaked in the future.
After leaving Savage Lake we went back to camp where we crashed out from being in the sun all day. All the ice had melted in the drink cooler so we transferred the beverages over to the food cooler then positioned out chairs over the empty cooler so we could soak our feet in the ice cold water which was almost unbearable, but felt so goooood. After unwinding a bit we headed to the beach for some swim time and relaxation, it was nice. For dinner we had teriyaki chicken with fried rice before sitting by the fire before bed. Bull Lake made for an excellent base camp and the kids did awesome with our excursions from camp, and as usual i can’t wait to get back to Montana. For more pictures click the link. Savage Lake Kayaking Pictures