Hiking around Flathead Lake

Hiking

Hiking around Flathead LakeThere are many quality hiking very close to Montana’s Flathead Lake.  The views from these hikes around Flathead Lake are both beautiful and vast.  Hiking is a great way to explore the area while experiencing nature and wildlife. We have created a list of trails you may enjoy.  The list of trails when hiking Flathead Lake can be found below.

Each trail offers an adventure into the vast openness of untouched country and environment.

First things first, when hiking around Flathead lake you should be sure to carry bear spray.  Be sure to carry it with your finger in the hole, and your thumb on the safety.  Really, be safe, carry bear spray.  With that said there are ample hiking opportunities around Flathead Lake.

Flathead Lake Hikes

Get your  150+ page Flathead Lake trail guide. or visit the website: GoHikeWithMike.com

Hiking Trail: Crane Mountain Trail #314

Of the three trails on this page, this trail is best if you are looking for aerial views of Flathead Lake. The Crane Mountain trail is 2.1 miles long (total of 3.5 miles from trailhead) and climbs about 330 feet. It begins at the junction with the Beardance Trail #76 and ends at the junction with Road #10218 near Crane Mtn Rd. From the Beardance trailhead this is one of three trails that climb up Crane Mountain. This lesser known trail starts winding up a few switchbacks through a larch/pine forest with thick undergrowth. It then straightens out and parallels Crane Creek to an old road bed. Turning left, follow the level road out to the upper trailhead. The trail is open for the following uses: hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking.

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

Hiking Trail: Noisy Creek Trail #8

The Noisy Creek trail is 1.9 miles long and climbs 850 feet. It begins at the end of Jewel Basin Road #5392 and ends at the junction with Alpine Trail #7. This is one of many accesses to the Jewel Basin Hiking Area. The trail is open primarily for the following uses: Hiking. Other uses are allowed, but not recommended, up to the Hiking Area boundary.

From Bigfork, go north on Highway 35 for 2.3 miles and turn right onto Hwy 83. Stay on Hwy. 83 for 2.8 miles and turn left onto Echo Lake Road. After 2.2 miles, turn slightly right onto the Foothills Road. After 1.1 miles, turn right onto Rd. # 5392, following the Jewel Basin Road signs. The trailhead is 6.6 miles at the end of the road. Trail #8 starts at parking lot see information boards to make sure you are starting on the right trail as there are several that leave the parking lot.

It doesn’t matter if you are a novice hiker or you love a challenge: Jewel Basin has a hike for you. You’ll discover 15,349 acres of wilderness, 27 lakes and nearly 50 miles of hike-only trails.

The Jewel Basin is located just outside of Bigfork in the Flathead National Forest. To access the trailhead from Bigfork, take Hwy 35 north to Hwy 83.  Head east on Hwy 83 to the junction of the Echo Lake Road. Head north on Echo Lake Road about 3 miles to junction with the Jewel Basin Road (No. 5392).  Follow this road approx. 7 miles to the trailhead.

Hiking Trail: Crater Notch Trail #187

The Crater Notch Trail is 3.7 miles long and climbs about 3,000 feet. It begins 1/2 mile up the Echo-Brokenleg Trail #544 and ends at the Alpine Trail #7 leading to In-thlam-keh Lake. The trail is open for the following uses for the first 2.7 miles: hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking. After 3.5 miles the trail enters the Jewel Basin Hiking Area where the only allowed use is hiking. Please respect these guidelines.

From Bigfork, go north on Highway 35 for 2.3 miles and turn right onto Hwy. 83. Stay on 83 for 2.8 miles, turning left onto Echo Lake Rd. After 2.2 miles, merge slightly right onto the Foothills Road. After 1.1 miles turn right onto Road #5392 also called Jewel Basin Rd. The trailhead is about two miles up the road on the right.

FLATHEAD LAKE TRAIL GUIDE

Hiking in MontanaThe Go Hike with Mike trail guide contains most every trail head in the Flathead and Kootenai Forest as well as the Mission Mountain Tribal Wilderness.  Click here to purchase your copy.

Flathead Lake Vacation Guide

Flathead Lake Vacation Guide

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!

Major tributaries are the Flathead and Swan Rivers. In addition numerous small streams flow directly into The Lake at its shoreline, particularly on the wetter East Shore. Located at the outlet of the Flathead River outside of  Polson is Kerr Dam. Regulations of outflow by the dam maintain the lake level between 2,883 and 2,893 feet above sea level.

Fishing on Flathead Lake

About Montana’s Flathead Lake

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.

Montana Flathead Lake

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.

Hiking Around Flathead Lake

This Vacation Guide contains most every public access point around The Lake.  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 guides Table of Contents.

How to Purchase

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 Vacation. Purchase your booklet using our Pay-Pal option knowing your information is safe and secure and we will see you on the Lake!

Flathead Lake Trail Guide

Our Flathead Lake Trail Guide provides information about camping & hiking around Flathead Lake.   Mike has been hiking, wandering, hunting and spending time in these woods for more then 20 years.  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

Purchase the GHWM Trail GuideMike 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.  The trail guide contains the trails Mike would like to recommend to you during your visit to northwest Montana.

The trail guide is focused on trails, camping and being in the woods.  Mike’s Trail Guide breaks the area in four 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.  West of Flathead Lake, including the Kootenai National Forest.  The guide contains most every trail Mike has hiked in the last 20 years or plans to hike in the next 20 years.

Flathead Lake Trail Guide

Click here to purchase your copy.

Don’t need the hiking guide, just some basic trail information, do not fret.  Mike has included some beginner to medium hikes on this website.  Depending on were you as staying there is most likely a trail head near you. Thanks for visiting, hope to see you on the trail.

Hiking Trails: Camp Misery Trail

Trail Guide

Hiking Trail: Camp Misery Trail #68

The Camp Misery trail is 0.8 miles long. It begins at the junction with Noisy Creek Trail #8 and ends at the junction with Alpine Trail #7 and provides one of the many accesses into the Jewel Basin Hiking Area. The trail is primarily open for the following uses: Hiking.

Usage is typically light, closest town is Bigfork
Directions:
From Bigfork, go North on Highway 35 for 2.3 miles and turn right onto Highway 83. Stay on 83 for 2.8 miles and turn left onto Echo Lake Rd. After 2.2 miles, turn slightly right onto Foothill Rd. Continue for 1.1 miles and bear slight right following the Jewel Basin sign onto Road #5392. Continue 6.6 miles to the end of the road for the trailhead.

Location

Area/Length : 0.8 miles
Elevation : 5,750 feet – 7,530 feet

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

Don’t need the hiking guide, just some basic trail information, do not fret.  Mike has included some beginner to medium hikes on this website.  Depending on were you as staying there is most likely a trail head near you. Thanks for visiting, hope to see you on the trail.
The 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.

Hiking Trails: Phillips Trail

Trail Guide

Hiking Trail: Phillips Trail #373

The Phillips Trail #373 is 3.8 miles long and climbs about 600 feet; it intersects with Crane Mtn Road #498 and the Beardance Trail #76. This is one of three trails that climb up Crane Mountain. Access by car from Crane Mountain is available 4/1-11/30, otherwise hikers must access from the Flathead Lake side at the Beardance trailhead (4.4 miles up). The trail is open for the following uses: hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking.

Trail Map and Directions

Usage is typically light, closest town is Bigfork
General Information
Directions:
Crane Mtn Access: From Bigfork go south on Highway 35 for 0.7 miles, turning left onto Hwy 209. Stay on 209 for 3 miles, then turn right at the light onto South Ferndale Rd. After 2 miles merge right onto Crane Mountain Rd also called Forest Service Road #498. The trail is 3 miles up on the west side of the road.

Flathead Lake Access: From Bigfork follow Highway 35 south, past Woods Bay, to the Beardance Picnic Area south of mile marker 23. The trailhead is on the east side of the highway, across from the parking lot.

Location

Area/Length : 3.8 miles
Elevation : 3,440 feet – 4,039 feet

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

Don’t need the hiking guide, just some basic trail information, do not fret.  Mike has included some beginner to medium hikes on this website.  Depending on were you as staying there is most likely a trail head near you. Thanks for visiting, hope to see you on the trail.
The 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.

Hiking Trail: Broken Leg Divide Trail #353

Trail Guide

Hiking Trail: Broken Leg Divide Trail #353

The Broken Leg Divide trail is 2.8 miles long climbs about 520 feet. It begins at the junction with the Peterson Creek Trail #293 and ends at the junction with Echo-Brokenleg trail #544. The trail is open to: hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking.

Usage is typically light, closest town is Bigfork.

Directions:
From Bigfork, go North on Highway 35 for 2.3 miles and turn right onto Highway 83. Stay on 83 for 2.8 miles and turn left onto Echo Lake Rd. After 2.2 miles, turn slightly right onto Foothill Rd. Continue for 1.1 miles and bear slight right following the Jewel Basin sign on to road 5392.

The trailhead is 1.8 miles up road 5392 on the right.

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

Don’t need the hiking guide, just some basic trail information, do not fret.  Mike has included some beginner to medium hikes on this website.  Depending on were you as staying there is most likely a trail head near you. Thanks for visiting, hope to see you on the trail.
The 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.

Flathead Lake Vacation Guide

Flathead Lake vacation Guide

Flathead Lake Vacation.  Need a vacation?

Flathead Lake Vacation

If you are looking to plan your vacation to northwest Montana’s Flathead Lake we will suggest you purchase and download a copy of the Flathead Lake Vacation Guide.

This vacation guide is packed with everything that is Flathead Lake.  The guide contains most every campground, fishing access points and trailheads around Flathead Lake.

Montana’s Flathead Lake Guide.

Boat Rentals, Camping areas, and just south of Glacier National Park.

 

 

Bigfork Montana

Bigfork is a year-round resort village of about 1500 residents built on a western art theme.  It contains many art galleries, fine restaurants, golf, boutiques, and live theater.  Bigfork is located on Flathead Lake with ample public access to fishing, boating and hiking opportunities.

Bigfork MontanaThe Bigfork Summer Playhouse is a fine theater operating Monday through Saturday during the summer season and is worth a visit while in Bigfork.

Bigfork has been listed in the following publications: The 50 Great Towns in the West, 100 Best Small Art Towns, The Great Towns of America, and National Geographic Guide to Small Towns Escapes. Chosen by Sunset Magazine as one of the most picturesque towns in the Northwest

Bigfork Montana is home to Eagle Bend Golf Club, a 27-hole championship course and Montana’s only golf course to be rated #1 by Golf Digest for six consecutive years.  Eagle Bend has also consistently ranked top 50 in the United States.  The original 18 holes were designed and built by William Hull and later, in the mid-nineties “Nicklaus Design” designed and built the “Nicklaus Nine” to standards worthy of  the Nicklaus reputation.  Eagle Bend is a semi-private Club offering all of the facilities you would expect including sculpted fairways, excellent greens, practice facility and a full service restaurant and lounge.

Bigfork Montana Trails

Trails closest to Bigfork: Beardance Trail #76 ,  Broken Leg Divide Trail #353 ,  Camp Misery Trail #68 ,  Crane Mountain Trail #314 ,  Crater Notch Trail #187 ,  Echo Broken Leg #544 ,  Estes Lake Trail #96 Flathead Lake Interpretive Trail #77 ,  Noisy Creek Trail #8 ,  Peters Ridge Trail #37 ,  Peterson Creek Trail #293 ,  Phillips Trail #373 ,  South Lost Creek Trail #86 ,  Strawberry Lake Trail #5 ,  Switchback Trail #725

Hikes around Flathead Lake

Hikes around Flathead Lake

Hikes around Flathead Lake:

Hikes around Flathead Lake. There are many hikes around Flathead lake. Here are a couple easily accessible hikes. The Flathead Lake Trail is by far the easiest hike. It is a short half mile loop interpretive trail hike. The short but steep distance down to excellent view of Flathead Lake and the western skyline. This trail was developed in partnership with the Bigfork High School.

Directions: From Bigfork, go south on Highway 35 past Woods Bay, and turn right after mile marker 23, entering the Beardance trailhead parking. The trail goes downhill from both parking areas, creating a loop.

If you are looking for something a bit more difficult, cross the road to the Bear Dance Trail. The Bear Dance trail and the Flathead Lake Trail share the same parking lot.

Hikes around Flathead Lake

BEARDANCE TRAIL #76

The Beardance 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.

Usage: Heavy | Closest Towns: Bigfork
Directions: 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.
Season: These trails are typically snow free by April.
Regulations: Hiking, horse riding and mountain biking are allowed on these trails. Motorized vehicles, including motorcycles are prohibited.

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

Beardance Area: Trails #76, 373, and 314

Directions: 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.

Trail Description:
The Phillips Trail 373 leaves from the Beardance parking lot and climbs moderately, enjoy a nice viewpoint of Flathead Lake, then continues to climb through the trees and finally crosses two creeks and then descends to the road.

The Crane Mountain Trail 314 climbs up switchbacks in the shade of a dense forest and follows Crane Creek up to the junction with an old road. Once you reach the old road, the grade levels off for an easy hike to the upper trailhead.

The Beardance Trail 76 starts climbing up switchbacks then continue to climb up through a forested area to the trailhead on Crane Mountain Rd.

The Go Hike with Mike trail guide contains most every trail head in the Flathead and Kootenai Forest as well as the Mission Mountain Tribal Wilderness, including this campground.  Click here to purchase your copy.

Mission Mountains Wilderness

The Mission Mountains

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

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.

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.

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.