Explore the most popular nature trips trails in Flathead National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

This was our first trail using all trails app. The trailhead was easy to find and has a bathroom. The hike starts off a slight bit steep but levels off nicely toward the top. The lake was really nice. We tried to walk to the second lake but the trail was a lot harder to follow and we were running short on daylight so we turned back. All in all great hike.

Great hike if you’re looking for something close to Whitefish.

camping
7 days ago

Beautiful scenery with the option to take a lift down.

Amazing scenery and views in mid-September. Be prepared for weather changes. Would definitely recommend this beautiful trail.

Beautiful views.

Took our dog on the hike and had a nice early evening hike ! Was beautiful scenery! Definitely would recommend this hike !

Beautiful trail...amazing wildflowers and some amazing views.

Just beautiful.

Great hike! It’s 3.8 to the end point and another .5 to the gondola. If I did it again, I would have had two IPAs at the bar and taken the gondola down. :) Enjoy.

Beautiful, crystal clear lake at the end of a easy 2 mile hike. First part of trail had some fairly steep climbs but nothing really tough. Low 70’s & no bugs or fish.

hiking
23 days ago

Fun and relatively easy hike on the way there, but the way back is a little bit harder due to steep uphill sections. Great views, mountain goats, and a gorgeous lake!

I wouldn’t bring small children or clumsy dogs because of the trail being loose rocks and steep drop offs in some places.

as a flatlander this was a little tough. decent views throughout. lots of huckleberries to be picked. the last stretch up to the summit was the hardest part. gondola ride back down was well worth the $9 ticket.

Trail not maintained and completely over grown. After 15 minutes of walking through 4’ shrubs had to turn back.

backpacking
1 month ago

Did this hike last weekend. Lake was great and the trail was pretty easy. The trail up to island lake was a little difficult to stay on as it was overgrown in spots. The was only one bigger camp site with two smaller sites that could probably only fit one tent. I only saw one camp site on island lake but I bet you could camp on the sizable island if you can get your gear over to it. Still plenty of snow in spots even in August.
We did see quite a few day hikers on the trails but none stayed long as there are several lakes to explore.

on Sapphire Lake

hiking
1 month ago

Many trails are available from the Holland Lake trailhead, which is easily accessible 4 miles down a good dirt road right off of route 83. Do not try to find the trailhead by entering Sapphire Lake directly into GoogleMaps, as that brought me to the wrong place. The AllTrails directions brought me to the right trailhead, which has restrooms, but no water. It was fairly busy there by mid-day, mostly with folks taking the trail to the falls.

Like most of the other reviewers here, I only went to Upper Holland Lake, which was 11 miles RT and 2753 ft of elevation gain. I am guessing that to get up to Sapphire Lake is much more than another 0.4 miles. That is a good thing, because that would be a short distance over which to gain another 842 ft of elevation.

Very nice hike. The views of Holland Lake are pretty, and the hike brings you through varied terrain, sometimes along a creek with nice waterfalls. It is a steady, but not brutal uphill trip on a well maintained trail with only a little bit of overgrowth in a few places. Upper Holland Lake seems like a popular spot to overnight. I did not see any bears, but I feel like maybe I did see paw prints on the trial.

There are many other trails in this area not shown on this map, and you could easily get confused if you don't have a more complete map. I relied on the AllTrails app and still ended up taking a wrong turn on the way down and had to backtrack when I realized that I had missed the bridge over the creek right by the camping area about halfway up.

Beautiful views but very challenging... technical for running in many spots.

hiking
1 month ago

This was a great hike that was definitely on the easy side of moderate. On a hot day you can take a swim in the lake at the end of the trail - a real highlight! Views were a bit hindered from the smoke but that's true of most trails right now.

We decided to do this one from top to bottom... took the chair up, grabbed a beer at the summit and made our way down. Very well-maintained trail with plenty of signage. The declines were very steep in spots which made me second guess our choice to start at the top, but we took the Flower Point loop which added about 1.5 miles to the hike and also provided some inclines to give our knees a break. This side loop also provides incredible views over the canyon at the resort's eastern boundary.

Tons of wildflowers and whitebark pine. Tons of birds, including one female ptarmigan.

Fun trail!

Stunning short hike. Love the fresh water. Most likely will see mountain goats. Last time we were up there a male was charging humans. I witnessed it charge a male in our group and heard from four others hikers this had happened to them as well. Had never seen this before.

camping
1 month ago

I had intended on taking my family (wife + our 4 kiddos age 9 and younger) on a hiking / fishing / camping trip. The hike is not challenging. Well maintained trail. However,
** Glacier lake is DAY USE ONLY **
So, instead of a 1.5 mile hike, we went on a 3.5 mile hike to the next lake in, which is Crescent Lake. I’m not trying to whine. The hike was great. Kids did okay. The annoyance is that we were not mentally prepared to hike that much farther which resulted in me carrying 1 kid along with an extra pack 2/3 of the way up and most of the way down. Just something I wish I would have known. So I could have had a better heads up, or could have chosen a closer camping destination.
All that aside, it was a great family outing. Caught a few fish 10-12”. A few nice camping spots. We will most likely be back at some point.
Also, Heart Lake is probably only another .25 / .5 miles away from Crescent.

Very solid hike up Big Mountain. Huck picking along the way. Lots of bear scat but no bears today. Saw some eagles. Last stretch to the summit is worth it. As good as advertised a must do hike!

We didn’t think we were going to hike today because it was supposed to be a pretty hot day, but we got up to the Mountain and it was beautiful, so we grabbed some water and hit the trail. It meanders in out of tree cover and has lots of areas of shade with great views. We picked huckleberries and thimbleberries along the way. We turned around at about the 2 mile mark and headed back down. Would love to do this again when we’re more prepared!

Cool and easy trail

hiking
1 month ago

- beautiful trail with great views of the valley and the basin (we will be back!)
- easy footing
- id place this on the easy side of moderate. Initial switchbacks from trailhead weren’t bad. Steep parts are as you hike down to the lake, so keep in mind you’ll have to hike back up those to get back
- well tracked trail, easy to follow, gets thin in spots but not problematic
- got to trailhead at 9am Sunday morning, parking lot was barely full
- parking lot was very full when we finished hike around 12:30pm
- bugs didn’t get bad til we were heading down around noon and it was starting to get hot
- birch lake itself is really nice
- dirt road to camp misery trailhead was uncomfortable but manageable in an Elantra
- bring sun screen!
- bring water for doggos, none on the trail for them until you reach the lake

Tough hike. A lot longer than most guidebooks say and a lot of elevation gain. Don’t stop hiking until you reach the ridge line with drop off views on both sides, then you’ll know you’ve made it.

Nice trail. Great views. Can opt to take the gondolas up and hike down. We hiked up and rode back down the mountain for a new view. Cost is a or $9 a person for the lift.
The top is worth going for. Some great views of Glacier. The last mile up, the elevation rises by over 800 ft.

The trail had clear markers and a lot of the hike you have views of Whitefish lake. When you are at the top you can get a good view of the mountains surrounding. I found the hike a little underwhelming, but still enjoyed it.

This was a delightful hike! I agree, would rank this as moderate due to some steep, ongoing climbs. The bugs were present but not awful for us at the lake. Trailhead was easily accessible as well.

I think I would question the EASY rating this app gives this hike? The trail has several steep climbs to the lake but once there the beauty will make you forget about them. Be sure to wear your bug spray. Vicious mosquitos from the meadow to the lake. Well worth the time and the climb and Don't forget to listen for the Winter Wren singing along the way.

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