Mount Aeneas and Picnic Lakes via #717 and #392 Trails

HARD 133 reviews
#1 of 41 trails in

Mount Aeneas and Picnic Lakes via #717 and #392 Trails is a 6.2 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Bigfork, Montana that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from July until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 6.2 miles Elevation Gain: 1,925 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

running

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

rocky

scramble

Please note that the road leading to the trailhead can be steep and muddy. 4WD is recommended.

hiking
snow
3 months ago

The trailhead for this hike is actually Camp Misery. There’s about 4.5 miles of dirt road to get to the parking lot, and the last mile has snow and slush in the morning. My 2-wheel drive car couldn’t do the last bit so we parked about .7 miles from the trailhead and walked. About 8 large trees had fallen onto the trail that we had to climb over and toward the summit there was 1-2 feet of snow on the ground. I was very glad I brought my trekking poles for the steep snowy/rocky parts. The view from the top is amazing and totally worth it. At the top there’s about a half mile of scenic ridge hiking that’s pretty breathtaking. We actually hiked through the clouds to get to the summit which was surreal and eerie and awesome. There are a bunch of other trails intersecting this one, but it’s is easy to follow if you check the app at intersections. My dog had a blast.

Absolutely amazing hike. Dog friendly with amazing views. Highly recommended.

Great hike! Loved hiking it and it was nice to get away from GNP for a day

Thanks to those that posted such great reviews. This was a great hike and whilst you need to be careful of your footing in places is overall within reach of most skillsets. The views are amazing but unfortunately we did not see the goats! We will be back!

hiking
4 months ago

This was actually at least an 8 mile hike. Great trail. It was a little tough finding the trail off of Mount Aeneas that led to the Picnic Lakes, and that part was VERY steep. But I would hike this again.

hiking
4 months ago

This is NOT 6.2 miles as stated in the description. Followed the red line exactly and logged it at 8.1 miles. That said, this is an epic hike that I would definitely do again. Bring a jacket, the summit was a good ten degrees colder than the trailhead and windy! Took about 5 hours with two kids, 7 and 10.

hiking
bugs
4 months ago

All the hard work is up front. we met a curious mountain goat at the peak as our reward, well that and stunning views. The whole trail was spectacular. There were a few people here and there in the Basin but overall not to crowded. We even found a few huckleberries right on the trail coming down.

hiking
5 months ago

Be warned, the road to the trailhead is quite rutted and steep, and parking is limited. BUT the trail is worth it. The clouds were low in the morning, but started to clear up by noon. Every part of this loop is different... well maintained trail, small scramble to the summit, and then a hike down through meadows and lakes. Keep in mind, this trail was about 30% longer than the AllTrails app indicates. We did the entire loop in about 4.5 hrs, including a stop for lunch, some pictures breaks, and a stop at one of the lakes.

hiking
5 months ago

We were visiting from Canada over the weekend and had so much fun on this loop. The clouds began to lift and break after noon and we got stunning panoramic views of flathead lake. The climb was challenging, but not hard. After topping the peak the trail winds down into a beautiful mountain bowl with meadows, shallow creeks and clear lakes, and SO MANY WILDFLOWERS!!!! It started to rain on us from cloud build-up so would recommend a light wind/rain shell. My favourite part was the very varied plant life and scenery you go through. Every part of the trail is different and exciting.

hiking
5 months ago

I live in the Flathead valley and had never done this trail before last week. This trail is a bit of a booty kicker, but totally worth it. We saw a couple of mountain goats and picked some huckleberries on our way up. Totally worth the climb for the view. Go all the way to the summit. You won't regret it.

Beautiful trail. GPS recorded about 5km up, but the meandering down route put it quite a bit over the 10km total according to the GPS. the road to get here is gravel and quite rutted in spots. Was a bit difficult in our Corolla

hiking
bugs
no shade
rocky
scramble
5 months ago

Amazing hike! I did it with my 1 year old on my back in her pack. The bugs were absolutely ridiculous.. But It’s a decent hike on the way up and the last mile is INTENSE, and then you reach the lookout and from there the hike to the summit is gradual with some steep inclines, and then to descend the summit there’s a good amount of shale to be careful of but a lovely hike back none the less.

hiking
5 months ago

Great hike, great views and lovely lake. Did this loop with my 1 1/2 year old in a carrier and my 12 1/2 year old dog. Also, don’t fear the road to the trailhead. I drive it regularly in my RWD Dodge Charger pursuit.

Fantastic hike! Road to trailhead wasn't that bad. I did put my truck in 4x4 because it rolls over the washboard better but you could make it with 2 wheel drive. Absolutely no reason you would need any sort of high clearance. The only part of the trail that is at all difficult is the quarter mile on each side of the summit. That said, my 4 and 9 year olds did it, so it's very doable without any big worries. The temperature at the top seemed about 20 degrees cooler than at the trailhead because it was so windy, so plan accordingly. We went counter clockwise but if you are at all concerned with that top part do it clockwise and you will go up the steepest section rather than down it. Either way, though this is a great hike, very glad we found it. We saw 6 goats. Didn't see any bear or evidence of them but would definitely come prepared as you are out in the wilderness.

hiking
6 months ago

Last part of the trail gets a little steep but an awesome trail. Make sure you bring extra layers, the top was really cold when we were up there

hiking
rocky
snow
6 months ago

Absolutely amazing hike that is a must do. This beat my hike in GNP yesterday. Summit was a tad difficult even for this seasoned hiker but had to get around a few mountain goats. The descent was tricky but so glad we did the picnic lakes loop and not the out and back. 5 hrs total and hit the end right at sunset; most beautiful views!

hiking
6 months ago

Many picturesque views. Challenging hike but not over the top. Many mtn goats, that were almost tame, at the summit. Well maintained trail. Highly recommend

hiking
6 months ago

Trail was absolutely beautiful! Definitely will test your physique but well worth the workout when you make it to the top! The hike was made even more exciting when we came across mountain goats at various spots along the trek. So worth it!

hiking
6 months ago

First, the road is seven miles of windy washboard. You don’t need a high clearance rig, but get ready for serious vibrations. Your rear view mirror will need an adjustment! Coming down is like a roller coaster. The trail is three miles up from trailhead to summit. Right before the summit you’re scrambling over rocks. Aside from the long uphill, this is the thing that might make it hard for some people. Mountain goats unafraid and curious. The loop through picnic lakes was actually my favorite part. Meadows and meadows of wildflowers. That adds another 4 miles. I did the whole thing in a little over three hours. Note: getting off the summit is tricky. Was wishing I had poles for that section, very rocky and steep and sliding rock bits.

hiking
bugs
rocky
6 months ago

There are a couple of places where it’s very steep going up and down, which make this more challenging than it otherwise might be. There were a couple patches of snow left but nothing we couldn’t cross through carefully even without trekking poles. We saw a whole herd of goats—including babies—at the top. They were just cooling off in a snow patch and grazing and seemed pretty happy to just ignore us as long as we didn’t get too close. Also saw several chipmunks and a hawk, and an osprey in its nest on Route 83 driving up. The lakes were beautiful from far away, but a little too buggy to make for a nice spot for a break. Spectacular views at the top and fields of wildflowers going up and down. The parking lot was pretty full when we got there, but there’s a whole network of trails, so we didn’t run into many people on the actual trail. We started around 2 pm and finished around 7 pm.

hiking
muddy
snow
6 months ago

Did this loop yesterday, there is still a bit of snow on the trail down from mount aeneas to picnic lakes but super easy to walk over, its very densily packed. I found picnic lakes a bit underwhelming but its still a much better hike than doing an out and back to aeneas so give it a go. I am in love with this area, the views are hard to beat! Dont worry about poles, you will not need them, but if you have them, great ! didnt see wildlife, but saw plenty of goat tracks and fresh bear scat on the way down to picnic lakes

hiking
6 months ago

Don't let the wash-boarded and dusty road on the drive up discourage you. This is a must do for anybody in the valley. We drove up in a Jeep and had no problems on the road up to the trailhead but note that it might be a little rough on cars with low clearance. FYI, if you're wondering, yes, there is an outhouse at the trailhead. The number of cars at the Camp Misery Trailhead had us worried initially, but other than the four hikers and plethora of mountain goats at the summit it seemed like we had the trail to ourselves. Be sure to bring your phones and cameras fully charged because it only took the first mile of hiking before we had wide open views all the way across the valley over Flathead and Echo Lakes and you might find yourself taking pictures of everything. The trail numbers are well marked and maintained but it was easy enough to follow along using the All Trails app since we had phone coverage the entire time. The hike was fairly easy except for maybe the mile of steep switchbacks right before we reached the ridge near the old Microwave Tower, which happened to be an excellent spot to take a break and shoot a couple of 360 degree panoramic photos. The last little push to the summit looked a bit intimidating and was a little rocky but it ended up not being too steep or difficult. Once on the summit we were greeted with a number of friendly mountain goats that didn't seem to mind getting their photos taken. The hike down the backside was beautiful and lush and I dare anyone to hike across those snowfields in July and not throw a few snowballs. The last part of the hike down between the two picturesque Picnic Lakes, then up and over the low saddle and back to the trailhead was easy enough.

hiking
6 months ago

Snow in July!! Loved it ❤️

hiking
snow
6 months ago

Incredible views. Still plenty of packed snow on the route between Mt Aeneas and Picnic Lake, but it’s totally doable with trekking poles.

Load More