Clearwater Lake is a beautiful turquoise colored lake
located in the Lolo National Forest. It can be reached by car
on Forest Road 4370 and then by a 1/4 mile downhill hike
on a dirt trail from the trailhead. The lake can be found on the
Seeley Lake Ranger District Map, West Half:
U6. (see map photo below)
The lake is fed by a stream
entering on its northern shore, sourcing about 2
miles to the east northeast, high up around the (9083 ft.) Ptarmigan
Point area. The lake's outflow, on its northwest
shore, is the east fork of the
Clearwater River although it is not named on the map.
lake appears to resemble tropical waters for its color
except for the forest and mountain backdrop. I believe this
is partially due to a sandy bottom. We visited on a
windy day which drove away the mosquitoes that I suspect
would have been lurking the area in calmer weather.
distance to the lake would be about 6 miles by car beginning
on Forest Road 4353 (unmarked by number) off of Hwy 83 north of Rainy Lake.
When heading north on 83, look for the turnoff on the right
after the short bridge across the Clearwater River. After
about 3 miles, there will be a sign to turn left (on FR 4370)
to Clearwater Lake for the final 3 miles. The roads
seem to be well maintained, relatively speaking, but do be
cautious for opposite traffic around the blind curves!