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Alpine Big Hawk Trail is a 17.2 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Hungry Horse, Montana that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, and fishing and is best used from July until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 17.2 miles Elevation Gain: 3,799 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash








wild flowers


bridge out



over grown

washed out

Tue Sep 04 2018

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.

Sun Aug 28 2011

It was a beautiful valley and lakes with great weather- problem was all in the trail. The drop in was hard and the overgrowth full bugs made it miserable. The trail was washed out in several places and there were three very large trail clogger trees along with five smaller trees that had to be navigated. Trail aside, the camp spots were big, open, smooth and well located next to the lakes. I posted a picture form the top of the swichbacks, the bottom of the switchbacks and of the overgrowth