Birch Lake Trail is a 10.0 kilometer 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.

Length10.0 kmElevation gain320 mRoute typeOut & back
Dogs on leashHikingNature tripsBird watchingForestLakeViewsWildflowersWildlifeBugsRockySnow
Description
Waypoints (1)
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Getting There

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.

The Trailhead has a parking lot for about 20 cars. It also has restroom facilities on site.

Keith Perry kperry52@me.com

Travel to Bigfork Montana and take Hwy 83 to Echo Lake Rd. Turn North onto Echo lake road and go approximately 3 miles to Foothills drive and turn right. Go approximately 2 miles to Jewel Basin Forest road 5392. This road gradually climbs to the trail head. The road can be very jarring with washouts and ruts. The trailhead at Jewel Basin 717 has parking for about 20 cars and has restroom facilities.

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Reviews (149)
Photos (331)
Recordings (110)
Completed (280)
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Morgan Smith
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarOctober 23, 2020
HikingIcySnow

Everyone wanting to do this hike should know it’s on the end of a very steep gravel road up a mountain top. That road gets icy very fast. Our car slid off the side of the mountain while trying to get to this hike. Best bet is to go in summer. Even with chains, snow tires and or ice picks I highly suggest you wait to do this hike until the warm months.

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Ryan Smith
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 11, 2020
HikingGreat!

great, quick hike to beautiful birch lake. personally, think the pictures don't do it justice. if you're near the area, definitely recommend this one.

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L BUDD
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 5, 2020
HikingGreat!

Great hike but some of the trails are very narrow and steep with loose gravel so you better wear good hiking boots. We had hiking sticks as well which was very helpful. We are beginners and moderate is a good description for this trail. Views are spectacular over Flathead Lake, the whole valley and finally Birch Lake. Getting there took us about 2hrs (taking lot's of pictures and enjoying the views.) About 1.5hrs for the way back. Oct. 4/2020

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Kevin H.
Gray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarOctober 4, 2020
HikingGreat!

This was a moderately challenging task for us as it was our first hike on this trip to Montana. Our goal was to follow trail 7, the alpine trail to birch lake for the 6+ miles route. We were a bit stumped when the lake did not appear on the trail map but it did appear on Google maps. Google prevailed and we were rewarded by reaching it. spectacular views throughout! only downside was a tricky Jewel Road to the parking lot. Good 20 minutes of rough gravel roads and oncoming traffic.

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Claus Roehrborn
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 26, 2020
Hiking

wonderful alpine scenery, first mile pretty uphill, but the views are rewarding, had hail at end of trail...

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Emily Gruen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 15, 2020
HikingGreat!

Beautiful moderate trail! If you are looking to get away from the parks crowds, this is the perfect hike! However, do not underestimate the crazy off roading drive you have to take up to Camp Misery (parking lot). Lots of “whoopdy doos” as they call it.

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Bob Bidinger
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 15, 2020
Hiking

Absolutely beautiful hike, even with the smokey air from the fires out west. Ran into a couple of mountain goats. You can hike completely around the lake. Nice bonus.

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Kelly Bick
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 13, 2020
Hiking

Wonderful trail! Great family hiking trail!

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Arin Afield
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 10, 2020
Hiking

Gorgeous

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Christy Cole
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 9, 2020
HikingGreat!

This trail is incredible! It is the perfect amount of difficulty and distance, with amazing views the whole way, and a really breathtaking alpine lake at the end. I would love to come back to backpack it. Trailhead was staffed by rangers and super busy.

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Hannah Baldwin
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 9, 2020
Hiking

The views were very pretty and high up so you could see for miles over Flathead lake. The trail itself lead down into a valley in the mountains making it a very fun hike. Did not see any wildlife. It was the most crowded hike we have been on this trip but it was nice!

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Aditya Retnanto
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Hiking
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Morgan Mcmahon
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 2, 2020
HikingGreat!

Beautiful trail. Views are amazing. We started at the trail head around 1030 and did not encounter many other hikers. Trail is well maintained. Expect some steep descents and ascents but absolutely worth the hike.

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Shanna Many Wounds
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 30, 2020
HikingGreat!

Love this trail. Huckleberries abound in the fall and it is much less traveled than the Aneas summit trail, which is rad.

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Heather Stevens
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 16, 2020
Hiking

Very steep in sections with drop offs. Suggest hiking boots and walking sticks. My husband and kids had to turn around. Views are epic and well worth the relatively gentle climb at the beginning.

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Kelly Sizer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 10, 2020
Hiking

Fairly easy hike. It’s worth going to other end of Birch Lake for views of Hungry Horse reservoir.

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Eileen Maneely
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Hiking
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Alyssa Nicol
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Hiking

Incredible. The views are stunning. Not too challenging. Only negative is too many people. It’s a very popular trail. Best to go in the morning.

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Beth Heaton
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 4, 2020
Hiking

Very nice trail! We took the last space in the parking lot, on a Tuesday, around 10:00 a.m. Didn't seem crowded on the trail, however.

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Mark Wildman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 4, 2020
HikingGreat!

Nice challenging trail up and down to the lake which is absolutely stunning. Well traveled and highly recommended.

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Erica Hurt
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 31, 2020
BackpackingBugsGreat!Rocky

Beautiful trail! We went for a two day backpacking trip with the intention to camp at Birch Lake then hike to Crater Lake and camp for a second night. While Birch is absolutely breaktaking, the horse flies and mosquitos were so overwhelming, even with tons of bug spray, that we decided to pack out the next day! The trail is rocky in parts when you get closer to the lake and around the lake, but it's mostly very decent. There are also a bunch of Big Horn Sheep in the area and they decided to visit us all hours of the night while camping. It was scary at first, but looking back, quite amazing! This is a great day hike, absolutely gorgeous area, and even a fantastic place to camp.. just know that the bugs are THICK!

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Stephanie Seymore
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 30, 2020
Hiking

What a gorgeous hike! Tons of pretty wildflowers and views and the trail was fun! The lake at the end was beautiful and we even swam. Nice and cold! The second half of the hike in was more narrow and you needed to pay attention but it was a great trail! Would do this again for sure!!!

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CM Miller
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 19, 2020
HikingBugs

Relatively simple trail with only one steep section. Termination at Birch Lake offers solid fishing opportunities. Was an easy hike for our 10 year old.

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Davis Neuhouser
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HikingBugs
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Abigail Roston
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 17, 2020
Hiking

7/16/20 Sweet little hike! Trail is in great condition and parking is completely manageable if you get up there later in the day. Highly recommend waiting until 3/4 PM to avoid the crowds and still get gorgeous views.

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Linda Vo
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 12, 2020
Hiking

Wonderful trail. Was looking for a trail as a backup to the crowded trails in Glacier NP. The trail was maintained and not crowded. Arrived at 10am on Sunday and got the last parking spot. To get to the trail, it’s a gravelly uphill road that’s best for cars with all wheel drive, also for those who are sensitive to bumpy car rides, bring Dramamine. Gorgeous views throughout the hike. The payout with Birch lake was worth the trek.

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Angie McCrorie
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 9, 2020
HikingBugsSnow

One hundred percent fabulous trail. Hardly anyone on this one in the morning. I think they were all on Mt Aeneus trail because the parking lot was a complete shit show when we got back. Go early if you want to avoid the masses.

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