Birch Lake Trail

moderate 67 reviews
#8 of 41 trails in

Birch Lake Trail is a 6.2 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Kalispell, Montana that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 6.2 miles Elevation Gain: 1,049 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

rocky

snow

This is a great hike to see large open views of Flathead Valley. On clear days you can see four different mountain ranges: Bob Marshall, Swan, Mission and Salish Mountains. Views of over 60 miles are normal on summer days. Birch Lake is a good lake for trout fishing and camping. The lake is 3-4 acres and in a beautiful small valley. The trail also branches off to Crater Lake and connects to the longer Jewel Basin trail network. The trail is a long slow series of climbs and switchbacks but not overly strenuous. The trail goes through some forest but mostly follows the mountain edge and allows for great wildlife viewing and Huckleberry picking when in season.

hiking
icy
2 months ago

The road to the trail is solid ice 3 miles before the trailhead, right at the Switchback TH. My AWD lost traction, did a 180 and almost went into a ravine. Thanks to my trusty snow shovel I was able to hack a path in the ice for my tires and get out. I’m sure the trail itself is amazing, just be forewarned if you want to get there now. I’ll be back for another go in the spring/summer.

hiking
rocky
scramble
5 months ago

Absolutely BEAUTIFUL hike facing Flathead Lake after trail split with Mt. Aneas Trail! Views of the lake throughout hike plus views of several mtn ranges. The lake itself is tranquil and serene. Take a lunch and a cold beverage and spend a little time enjoying the spot. Several short sections of trail are steep and offer a little bit of challenge. Most of the trail is fairly easy and well maintained.

hiking
5 months ago

I loved the views!! There were parts that were challenging, but the view made it worth it!

fishing
6 months ago

Amazing views of the flathead valley for most of the hike. Starts with some gradual switchbacks, trail gets narrow for the last mile with a few minor trail washouts but easily doable. The lake is beautiful and well worth the hike. Our group caught 6 trout in a little over an hour!

hiking
7 months ago

was fun watching the goats come down the narrow trail at us. they took to the high ground when they got close and let us go by. very cute.

hiking
7 months ago

we hiked this with our dogs and kids (a 4 month old!). The trail was great. The lake was fantastic (my husband and son even went swimming in it!). The bugs were a bit hefty, but as long as we kept moving we weren't devoured too much. We did see other people who didn't have their dogs leashed (drives me crazy, especially on narrow trails!). The trail starts out wide and mellow but does turn narrow and can be treacherous if you're not careful. Overall an incredible hike with epic views. I would agree with what others have said, this is on the higher end of "moderate", especially on the way back when there are some super steep climbs back.

hiking
7 months ago

hiked 7/11/29. great views and tight trails.

hiking
7 months ago

Good trail! A little tough so be prepared and make sure you have plenty of water!

hiking
rocky
8 months ago

hiking
8 months ago

This trail has beautiful views and very limited people hiking it on a Monday. No wildlife sightings this day. Here is a word of caution if you are not a local, there is a 4(+) mile drive on a dirt road to get to the trailhead. This drive is best driven with a 4 wheel drive, (we have a Honda Fit). The hike itself is on the higher end of “moderate” with steep descents and steep ascents. About 1/2 way into the hike the trail becomes narrow (single file).

hiking
8 months ago

Amazing! Gorgeous views, wild flowers and saw two mountain goats! Still a bit of snowy snow on the descent to the lake.

backpacking
Mon Sep 24 2018

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.

camping
Sat Sep 15 2018

hiking
Thu Aug 30 2018

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.

hiking
Fri Aug 17 2018

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.

Thu Aug 16 2018

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.

hiking
Mon Aug 06 2018

- 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

hiking
Sun Sep 10 2017

I actually did this as a park of a out and back to crater lake. Highly recommend stopping here and taking a quick tour around its beautiful.

hiking
Sun Aug 27 2017

What a beautiful hike! The view of the valley and area lakes and river is breath taking. Birch Lake is a pristine lake that is beautiful! Fish were jumping the day we were there. Bring your fishing poles if that is something you enjoy doing!

hiking
Thu Jul 27 2017

The trail offers amazing views of both Jewel Basin and Flathead Valley. Birch lake is quite the reward though. Beautiful water with excellent views. Limited water sources until you get there though so take note if you are bringing your dogs. You can continue up the Alpine trail to 2 other lakes as well. Definitely recommend this hike!

Mon Jul 17 2017

I really liked this trail. If you decide to go on to squaw lake or crater it is very over grown. We had to turn back around at squaw lake. But this was definitely worth the hike. Beautiful overlooks and plant life.

Wed Jul 05 2017

This is a beautiful hike with great views. There is also a trail that goes around the entire lake. Not a difficult hike, and totally worth it!

Mon Jul 03 2017

A great trail for all levels of hikers. We had little kids with us and they did great. Great views of the Flathead Valley and just the right amount of people on the trail.

Thu Jun 29 2017

Loved this hike! Definitely some sketchy parts of the trail that were slick gravel with a huge drop off on the side, so not for younger kids. Gorgeous lake!Rainbow trout, waterfalls, and snow this time of year! Watched mountain goats sled from the top of MT. Aneas, and could see 3 other lakes at the backside of Birch Lake. One a bit lower that was fed from Birch lake, and then 2 on the other side of the mountain at the back of birch lake. Not to mention being able to see Echo lake, Flathead Lake, Lake Blaine, and a few others from the trail about midway up. Bring your fishing pole or even your camping stuff!

hiking
Thu Mar 16 2017

Absolutely love this hike. It's pretty easy, short, and has stunning views the whole way.

hiking
4 months ago

hiking
5 months ago

hiking
5 months ago

hiking
6 months ago

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