Hiking Trails around Flathead lake

Hiking Trails around Flathead lake: Welcome to The Montanan. Hiking and recreational information in and around Northwest Montana.   

Trail Guide Flathead Lake vacation Guide

Purchase the: Go Hike With Mike Trail Guide, The Flathead Lake Vacation Guide, or the Vacation and Trail Guide Combo Pack

Hiking Trails around Flathead Lake

Our vacation and trail guide provide information about hiking and camping and. around Flathead Lake.  Montana’s Flathead Lake Vacations are better with our downloadable guide. The booklet includes restaurants, hotels, motels, vacation rentals, boat rentals, water craft rentals as well as public and private campgrounds. It is the most complete vacation information about Flathead Lake. Download your copy today!

There are  185 miles of shoreline and 200 square miles of natural  freshwater.  Therefore earning the title as “the largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi”.  There are 13 public access sites around The Lake maintained by  Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks

The southern half of The Lake lies within the boundary of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes’ Flathead Reservation, which was created in 1855 by the Hellgate Treaty. The Flathead Nation insists that all non-tribal members purchase a tribal recreation permit to recreate on tribal lands.

Public access sites include: Bigfork, Elmo, Juniper Beach, and Sportsman’s Bridge.
There are a number of Public State Parks including: Big Arm, Finley Point, Wayfarers, West Shore State Park, Woods Bay, and Yellow Bay, and Wild Horse Island.

190 pages packed with trailheads, camping spots, and local information around Flathead Lake.


Public and Private campgrounds and lodging around Flathead Lake. Also includes public and private campgrounds in all ranger districts around Flathead Lake.

Flathead Lake Montana

Visiting MontanaVisiting Montana. We provide information and content for folks who are visiting Montana. Thank you for visiting our site. Many years back the Flathead Lake Vacation Guide was written to provide tourist with the information they needed while visiting Montana.

This Vacation Guide contains most every public access point around The Lake.  How to purchase Flathead Reservation permits. Public and private fishing and camping areas.  So if you are looking for public or private campgrounds around our Lake, this vacation guide has the information you will need to plan your Montana vacation. See what is included, and Read the booklet Table of Contents.

Since that time we have created many websites and informational guides to assist visitors on what to see, and what to do.

Go Hike With Mike Trail Guide Flathead Lake Vacation Guide
Purchase the Vacation and Trail Guide Combo Pack

Visit Montana’s Flathead Lake Website to purchase your guide today. montanasflatheadlake.com . Montana’s Flathead Lake Vacations are better with our downloadable guide. The guide includes restaurants, hotels, motels, vacation rentals, boat rentals, water craft rentals as well as public and private campgrounds. It is the most complete vacation information about Flathead Lake. Purchase your copy today!

At $4.99 the Booklet costs less then a Subway® sandwich you can buy in Bigfork or Polson. So this will insure you have the information you need to have a Great Montana Lake VacationPurchase your booklet using our Pay-Pal option knowing your information is safe and secure and we will see you on the Lake!

For easy download, the vacation guide booklet  is available for your tablet or smart phone.  So spend less time wondering what to do and more time doing it!

Here is a list of some topics covered in the Flathead Lake Vacation Guide.


Finally if you have any questions about The Vacation Guide Booklet, including advertising options and affiliate programs send us an email to : vacation@MontanasFlatheadLake.com

Go Hike With Mike Trail Guide Flathead Lake Vacation Guide
Purchase the Vacation and Trail Guide Combo Pack

Hiking in Montana

Hiking in Montana

Mission Mountains Wilderness
Located in the Flathead National Forest in Montana. 

Go Hike With Mike Trail Guide Flathead Lake Vacation Guide
Purchase the Vacation and Trail Guide Combo Pack

The Mission Mountains Wilderness is on the Swan Lake Ranger District of the Flathead National Forest in northwestern Montana. The Forest Service manages it as part of the National Forest System. Officially classified as Wilderness on January 4, 1975, the 73,877 acre area is managed in accordance with the Wilderness Act of 1964.  The Mission Mountains run along the east shore of Montana’s Flathead Lake.

The Mission Mountains, Holland LakeWhen to Visit – Most people visit the wilderness between July 1 and October 1. Snow-filled passes and high streams make earlier travel difficult and hazardous. High lakes do not open up until early or mid-June.

June is normally a wet month. Snow still covers high, shaded basins and surrounds trees.

July, August, and early September are dry months. Daytime temperatures are the 80-90 degree range. Showers are frequent. Nights are very cool. Snow occur at any time. Heavy snow generally occurs in late October and early November.

Mission Mountains Trail HeadIf you are a skier or winter camper, late February through May provide the best snow conditions and longer days. When planning an extended backcountry trip, be informed of potential avalanche conditions.

Trails – There are about 45 miles of maintained Forest Service system trails in the Mission Mountains. Most trails are better suited to hiking than horseback riding because of rugged terrain.

Travel is primarily by foot with some horseback use. Mountain bikes, hang gliders, motorized trail bikes, motorcycles, three and four wheelers, and snowmobiles are not permitted. Few of the trails can be called easy. Some are especially difficult because of steepness. You should be an experienced hiker to travel cross country and should possess map reading and compass skills.

Throughout the Mission Mountains you will find old Indian and packer trails. These are usually steep and difficult to follow. They are suitable for only the most experienced horse users or backpackers.

Hiking in Montana

Mission Mountain TrailAccess Points – The major access points into the Mission Mountains Wilderness from the Swan Valley: Glacier Creek, Cold Lakes, Piper Creek, Fatty Creek, and Beaver Creek. Other access points from the Swan Valley include Lindbergh Lake (south end trail reached by boat), Jim Lakes, Hemlock Creek, Meadow Lake, and Elk Point.

There are also three major access points from the Salish & Kootenai Indian Reservation side of the Mission Mountains. Access through tribal lands requires a permit. These permits may be purchased at major sporting goods stores in Missoula and the Mission Valley or through the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Recreation Department in Pablo, Montana, phone (406) 675-2700.

A major portion of the Mission Mountains is suitable for backpacking only. Travel is strenuous, but it has many advantages: independence and self-sufficiency, opportunities for solitude, and you’re more carefree when backpacking.

Go Hike With Mike Trail Guide Flathead Lake Vacation Guide
Purchase the Vacation and Trail Guide Combo Pack

DAY HIKES: The Mission Mountains has several hikes ranging from 1 1/4 miles to 6 miles (one way) which can be completed in a day. You will carry less on your back and travel more easily.

BACKPACKING: Backpacking requires careful planning. Proper equipment, with maximum utility and minimum weight, will make the trip easier. The most important items will be your pack, sleeping bag, and foot gear. Take only what you need. A pack that is too heavy can spoil your trip. A pack without adequate food, clothing and shelter can be equally disappointing and unpleasant.

The Go Hike With Mike trail guide contains most every trailhead along the Swan front of the Mission Mountains.

Looking west at Flathead Lake from Yellowbay State Park.

Hiking Trails and Trail Heads

Hiking Beardance Trail #76

HikingThe Beardance Hiking Trail is 6.7 miles long and climbs about 2,200 feet. It begins off of Highway # 35 from the Beardance Trailhead and follows Forest Road #10222 and terminates at Crane Mountain Road #498. This trail has been re-routed in the last year and no longer follows the old Forest Service Road #9755. The trail is open to: hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking.

Close to the town of Bigfork. From Bigfork go south on Highway 35 past Woods Bay and turn right after mile marker 23, entering the Beardance trailhead parking. The trailhead is on the east side of the highway.

Area/Length : 6.7 miles
Latitude : 47.95678
Longitude : -114.03442
Elevation : 3,071 feet – 5,309 feet

The Go Hike with Mike Trail Guide contains most every trail head around Flathead Lake.  The guide includes trails as far north as Polebridge.  It also contains the Hungry Horse recreation area, the Swan Front and Swan Valley to the east.  To the north the guide contains trail head and campground information around Tally Lake.

Hiking Around Flathead Lake

Mike receives countless inquires about good trails and camping spots around Flathead Lake.  There is clearly a need for more detailed information about hiking around Flathead Lake.  This website and trail guide are the trails Mike would like to recommend to you during your visit to northwest Montana.

HikingThe trail guide is focused on trails, camping and being in the woods.  Mike’s Flathead Lake Trail Guide breaks the area in five easy to use sections.  North of Flathead lake, including The Talley Lake area and due north to Polebridge. East of Flathead Lake, including the Swan Front, Swan Valley, and on into the Hungry Horse recreation area.   The guide contains most every trail Mike has hiked in the last 20 years or plans to hike in the next 20 years.