Signs of early autumn began to show in Montana’s mountains. As we drove from Great Falls, we admired the bright changing leaves standing out among the low-hanging fog and rain. We headed towards Seeley Lake, excited to spend a day in the mountains. Holland Falls was our first stop. This hike brings you through pretty forest, offers stunning lake views, and ends at a beautiful tall waterfall as a reward for the climb up.
Getting to the Holland Falls Trailhead
The Holland Falls trailhead lies about 30 minutes north of Seeley Lake. From town, head north on MT-83 for about 20 miles. Turn right onto Holland Lake Road. It’s a dirt road, but it was pretty well maintained. This will turn into Holland Lake Lodge Road as you drive around the north side of Holland Lake. Continue down the road past the campground and the road to the Holland Lake Lodge. You’ll hit a dead end where you’ll park to begin the hike.
Holland Falls sits within Flathead National Forest. There are no fees or passes required to hike or park here.
Hiking to Holland Falls
Hike Type: Easy/Moderate out-and-back trail. The trail is short, but some may find the incline and boulders along the trail to lean more moderate
Distance: 3.3 miles (5.3 kilometers) roundtrip
Duration: 1h 45m – 2h 45m
Regulations: Pets are permitted, but must be leashed. There were signs asking hikers not to climb the rocks around Holland Falls.
It was lightly raining when we reached the parking area. The weather must have kept people away because we had heard that this was a popular hike, yet we were the only car in the lot. The views were pretty right from the start of the hike. We wound through the woods while skirting the edge of Holland Lake.
Shortly, the trail began to climb. It didn’t feel too strenuous, but we soon found ourselves high above the lake. The view over the water and the mountains in the distance was beautiful! We could see a couple small kayakers cruising on the lake below. The drizzle strengthened, making the rocks and trail a bit slick.
Before we knew it, we were at the base of Holland Falls. There are multiple cascades, the tallest one being about 50 feet. To get a good view of the waterfall, a little rock scrambling is involved. It was chilly just below the falls with the combo of rain, mist from the plummeting water, and wind. There was quite a bit of water flowing after the recent precipitation.
After admiring Holland Falls for a bit, we headed back down the trail the way we came. Next on our adventure was heading to Girard Grove to see North America’s largest larch.
What to Bring to Hike to Holland Falls
Water: An essential for any hike
Snacks: In case you want to refuel or enjoy the views a bit longer
Layers: Even in the summers, mornings and certain days can be chilly, so it’s always good to pack or wear extra layers. Check the weather to determine the layers needed and whether you should also pack a rain jacket.
Hiking Boots: Sturdy hiking boots with solid tread are a good idea to navigate the rocks below the falls.
Bear Spray: Bears are known to be pretty active in this area, especially earlier in the day.
Extra Gear: Hiking poles may help if you enjoy hiking with them. Early or late in the season, you may need spikes/Yaktrax to hike the steeper parts of the trail when it becomes icy.
Camera: With stunning lake views and a beautiful waterfall you may want to snap some photos!