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.

The National Bison Range

American Bison

The National Bison Range was established in 1908 and is one of the oldest Wildlife Refuges in the nation. The Range is about 25 miles south of Montana’s Flathead Lake.

The National Bison RangeA large portion of the 18, 500 acre Range consists of native Palouse prairie; forests, wetlands, and streams are also found here providing a wide range of habitats for wildlife. Elk, deer, pronghorn, black bear, coyote and ground squirrels are just some of the mammals that share the area with 350 to 500 bison. Over 200 species of birds also call this home including eagles, hawks, meadowlarks, bluebirds, ducks, and geese.

The National Bison Range

General Information

Fees are charged during the summer (mid-May to late October). The Range is part of the U.S. Fee System and accepts Golden Passes and Federal Waterfowl Stamps. Pay fees at the Visitor Center.

The Range is closed at night. Check the Contact Us page for current hours.

Camping is not allowed on the Range.

Visitor Center

The best place to start your visit is at the Visitor Center. Here you will find informative displays and handouts, restrooms, videos, a bookstore, and staff to answer your questions. Pay entrance fees here.  For more information about the Bison Range and other activities in northwest Montana, consider purchasing a copy of the Flathead Lake Vacation Guide.

Auto Tours

The National Bison RangePrairie Drive/West Loop: a 5-mile gravel road that travels through the flats. It is open to trailers and large RVs. It goes by the Bison Display Pasture. Plan for 1/2 hour. Open year round.

Red Sleep Mountain Drive: a 19-mile, one-way, gravel road which gains 2,000feet. There are many switchbacks and 10% grades along the drive. No trailers or vehicles over 32 feet are allowed on this drive. Allow 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Open mid-May to late October. (Check the Contact Us page for current information.)

Walking Trails: Hiking is limited on the Range to a few short walking trails. A mile-long Nature Trail is located at the Picnic Area and 1/4-mile Grassland Trail is at the Visitor Center. The 1/2-mile Bitterroot Trail and 1-mile High Point trail are both located off the Red Sleep Mountain Drive. Walking away from your vehicle is prohibited except for these designated trails. For a complete listing of trails around Flathead Lake, see the Go Hike With Mike Trail guide.

The National Bison Range: Picnic Area

The Range has a picnic area near Mission Creek. There are tables, grills, water, and accessible toilets. A covered pavilion is available on a first-come, first-served basis. There are no garbage cans, so please pack out all trash.

How to get here:

From Missoula: Travel north on US Highway 93 to Ravalli, turn left(to the west) on to State Highway 200, travel approximately 5 miles to the junction of Highways 200 and 212, turn right(to the north) and travel approximately 5 miles to the entrance of the Range at Moiese.

From Kalispell: Travel south on US Highway 93 or State Highway 35 to Polson, then travel Highway 93 through Pablo and Ronan to the junction of Highway 93 and State Highway 212, travel 12 miles (through Charlo) to the entrance of the Range at Moiese.

From the west: Travel Highway 200 through Dixon to the junction of Highways 200 and 212, turn left(to the north) and travel approximately 5 miles to the entrance of the Range at Moiese.

Hiking Trail Guide from Go Hike With Mike

Trail Guide

Hiking Trail Guide

We are proud to announce our newest website GoHikeWithMike.com along with the 150+ page Flathead Lake trail guide.

Trail GuideThe 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.

The trail-guide contains detailed information about each trail.  Content comes from Fish Wildlife and Parks, as well as 20 years of hiking and walking in the woods.

Looking for a great trail in Flathead National Forest, Montana?   The Go Hike With Mike Trail-Guide contains most all of them in northwest Montana.  Trails include  trail running trails, mountain biking trails and just great hiking trails.

Ready for some hiking? There are 30 moderate trails in Flathead National Forest ranging from 1.8 to 23 miles and from 3,034 to 7,421 feet above sea level. Start checking them out and you’ll be out on the trail in no time!

Hiking Trail Guide

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.

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

 

The Seli’š Ksanka Qlispe’ Dam, Formally KERR Dam

Went hiking around the Seli’š Ksanka Qlispe’ dam the other day. The gates are open wide at the south end of Flathead Lake. Really, if you haven’t seen it, it is worth the time spent. You wont even need bear spray. The staircase is steep on the way back up. Mike’s advise:  take it one step at a time.

See you on the trail.

The Seli’š Ksanka Qlispe’ Dam, Formally KERR Dam

The Dam is located on the Flathead Indian Reservation in northwest Montana. It is a concrete gravity-arch dam, built in 1938. The Dam is owned and managed by The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes in conjunction with others. The purchase was complete in 2015. During the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes’ celebration of their acquisition of the dam, the Tribal Council announced renaming the complex to reflect the three confederated tribes.

The Kerr Dam, officially known since 2015 as the Seli’š Ksanka Qlispe’ Dam

The Go Hike With Mike Trail Guide

Purchase the Go Hike With Mike Trail Guide. Read the Table of Contents

Thanks for stopping by.

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.

Hiking Trails: Strawberry Lake

Trail Guide

Hiking Trails: Strawberry Lake Trail #5

The Strawberry Lake trail is 2.8 miles long and climbs 1,500 feet. It begins at the end of Forest Service Road #5390 and ends at the junction with Alpine Trail #7. This trail switchbacks up a wooded ridge and then flattens out and sidehills for the last 1.5 miles to the alpine lake. The trail is open for the following uses: Hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, and motorcycle trail riding.

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. bear left after 1.1 miles to stay on the Foothill Rd. Drive for 2.7 miles, then turn right onto Road 5390 and drive for 3.3 miles, the trailhead is located at the end of this road.

Length : 2.8 miles
Elevation : 4,137 feet – 5,611 feet

Hiking Trails: Strawberry Lake

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: 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: Crane Mountain Trail

Trail Guide

Hiking Trail: Crane Mountain Trail #314

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.

Usage is typically light, closest town is 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.

Location

Area/Length : 2.0 miles
Elevation : 4,370 feet – 4,700 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: Noisy Creek Trail

Trail Guide

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—see below for restrictions.

Usage is typically light, closest town is Bigfork
Directions:
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.

Location

Area/Length : 1.9 miles
Elevation : 5,760 feet – 6,500 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.