Explore the most popular wildlife 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.

Decided to make an attempt to try this trail since I did not get to do it in the summer. Knew the trail would be icy, but had just purchased some Yaktrac’s, plus the trail had just got four inches of snow on it. Followed one set of tracks in, and not long into the trip, met a young woman coming back down. Trail was steep, but snow helped with traction. Finally got to where the hiker before me turned around and thought, I can’t resist going a little further and break the fresh snow. Glad I did, got to a beautiful view point. Believe I was only two miles into the hike, so it is back on my list for completion. Any day in nature is a good day, so I enjoyed the part I did do.

January hike. Very, very icy. We had yaktrax on and had a hard time in places. Good views. Well traveled; saw 4 other groups in 3 hours of hiking. Would be great snowshoe if there was a lot of snow.

Best marked/blazed trail I've ever been on! There are maps at every intersection to show the individual where you are and what the intersection brings.

The meadow loop is easy and relaxing. There are several other small trails off the meadow loop which you can go on to get more mileage or more elevations changes. Very fun and relaxing area!

The trail has well defined cross country ski tracks, though I saw people snowshoeing the trail (I just hiked and had spikes in the event the ice was bad but didn't need them after all).

Pretty cool trail! Somewhat strenuous. Great views of the valley to be had here.

Definitely gets the cardio in for the day! Lovely hike.

The trailhead is well marked. You begin by gradually going uphill, then it flattens out as you go around the left side of the creek and around a marshy area. We didn’t try hiking to the upper lake because of a lack of time. Looking forward to hiking it again next summer when it isn’t snowing and blowing.

on Lupine Lake Trail

3 months ago

Great day hike and gorgeous path through the pines. The lake is absolutely stunning and in the fall very secluded and not crowded one bit. A ways out there but worth it.

Steady increase in elevation, lots of switchbacks. Well worth the climb. the views the last 1/2 mile and lake is great. Did this hike with my 59 year old sister and Brother in law from Ohio n they crushed it.

hiking
3 months ago

Amazing fall hike!

hiking
3 months ago

Really enjoyed this hike and the lake at the end is quite secluded and breathtaking! Plus we only encountered 2 other people while hiking which we loved. Although the trail is a bit overgrown, we didn't have any difficulty following it. We did encounter quite a bit of bear scat along the trail though so make sure to bring the bear repellant.

The trail starts off with a decent climb for a while and then meanders downward through a river crossing and continues with fairly minimal decline and incline. The last bit goes back to a steeper incline but it much shorter than the beginning and after this bit of incline, the lake comes into view. Overall an enjoyable hike with a beautiful lake at the end!

hiking
3 months ago

One of the prettiest fall color trails you will find in early October. The drive in passes many striking fall scenes as well.

Easy trail with well maintained Creek crossings ending in gorgeous mountain lake views. Often quite busy despite the lengthy drive to the trailhead

Very nice hike through large pines with great lake views. As previously stated can be done as a 2ish mile loop.

3 months ago

Nice easy trail. scenery was awesome.

backpacking
3 months ago

Great trail for our large group of different ages and abilities. Beautiful views of the Flathead valley on the way in, then when you reach Birch Lake it was a nice surprise. We camped on the peninsula, caught a few fish, and a few hiked in to Crater Lake the next morning.

hiking
4 months ago

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
4 months ago

trail running
4 months ago

Excellent trail. It’s really just a moderate trail, with a little more distance. Overall the elevation gain is nothing compared to a hard trail. This is a definite people pleaser!

P.S. there is immense trail damage from dirt bikers so I’m wondering if there’s any local dirt biker coalition that would be happy to do some trail maintenance. I’m willing to help out if they come to terms with the trace they leave.

Beautiful scenery with the option to take a lift down.

Beautiful Fall day. Temps in mid 50’s, no bugs & huckleberry bushes a vibrant red!

Fantastic! Well worth the energy. Views are unbelievable.

This hike is absolutely breath taking. From the very beginning all the way to the summit. At the top you get to marvel at the 360 degree views including multiple lakes. You can continue over the summit to a trail that leads to the picnic lakes, but it looked too intense and narrow for this time around.

I’m a beginner hiker so the incline was intense. Parts of this trail are just rock and another challenge are the switchbacks. But the summit was completely worth it. We took many breaks and kept on trekking. Next time I’d be more prepared with extra water, hiking boots and trekking poles.

The road up to the Camp Misery trail head is no joke. Super narrow in some parts, long, super bumpy and parts where it’s your rig and a pretty intense drop to the left. There isn’t much parking up top of you choose to go up on a busy day.

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

Great hike! I was surprised to see the level of difficulty listed as “hard”. We went to the top without taking a break. Beautiful views. The summit was quite windy and cold; I wished I had brought another sweatshirt and a beanie!

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

Super simple hike, usually quite busy. as in you'll see at least a dozen people on the weekend or more.

I highly recommend you stay the night or a few nights at least make it to Birch or some other lakes.
If you're really gutsy, hit Big Hawk Lake.

Crater Lake is a good lake as well. Very beautiful.

I went up with a buddy in early September to Big Hawk Lake.
We stayed the night at Birch Lake the night before, so we got a head-start to Big Hawk -which I'm very glad that we did.
though there were a mama and baby mountain goat keeping us up all night at Birch Lake but it was pretty entertaining. They were certainly comfortable with people but not a threat.
We left Birch Lake at 8: 30 a. m. and reached Big Hawk around noon.

I would highly suggest a GPS because there's a ton of Trails and hunting trails that can get you off course. We had to backtrack twice.

This trail is not for beginners. Pack plenty of water, or a water filtration system would be better. You are climbing over every possible terrain you can think of. You will be climbing over rocks, pushing your way through overgrown areas, going down steep Terrain which sometimes include shale rock.

Do not let these things hinder you from trying the trail. Instead think ahead and allow yourself time to get there safely.

I am definitely glad that we made it. We thought about taking photos when we saw the lake and going back but we decided to walk all the way down to the lake.
There are some very large Cutthroat in Big Hawk Lake, so bring your Pole because these guys are hungry.

Beautiful Trail along the way and you will see plenty of lakes. So water is available often. Be sure you are very prepared and I would recommend not going alone.

There is a nice big Camp spot at Big Hawk Lake. There's also a smaller Lake before you get to Big Hawk where you can get water. I think we calculated about 45 minutes from the small Lake to Big Hawk.
I didn't find the switchbacks were two overgrown but there were a few thick spots. Luckily I didn't run into any bugs, like the other review had.
It takes roughly 20 minutes from seeing the lake, to getting down to it. There are several switchbacks that will take you down. Be careful to take the right trails, GPS once again is recommended, especially coming back.

We did not see any people from Crater Lake to Big Hawk Lake. The trails were a little over grown in some areas but definitely maneuverable.

Enjoy this hike it was a good one. I would say Advanced hikers only.

Just beautiful.

Beautiful hike. It gets a bit windy toward the top but not too bad. Worth the hike.

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