Hiking near Kalispell: Jewel Basin - Birch Lake

By
Real Estate Agent with 406-270-3667 (MT), 914-419-0270 (NY), Broker in NY with Grand Lux Realty and in MT with (coming soon!) 10301213186

The Jewel Basin is a hiking mecca in northwestern Montana with 35 miles of hiking trails and over 15,000 acres. It's easy to see why it's so popular, based upon the beautiful scenery and many options for hiking trails.

 

The Jewel Basin is located in Flathead National Forest, about a 30 minute ride from Kalispell. If you head towards Bigfork, pick up MT-83. After a few miles, you'll turn onto Echo Lake Road. Another 2 miles will take you to Foothill Rd. Take that for about a mile, and turn onto Jewel Basin Road. A mere 7 miles later, you'll be at the Camp Misery Trailhead, the starting point for many different trail options.

 

But let's stop right there. The "mere" 7 miles of Jewel Basin Road needs to be explained in a bit more detail so you're properly prepared. First, if our experience yesterday is any indicator, you'll need a 4WD or AWD vehicle. If you have anything loose in the back of your truck, make sure it's tied down. Because this isn't a paved highway. It's an unpaved road, full of washboard hills. And you're definitely going to be bouncing around a bit.

 

Also, while on most of the seven miles it would be possible for two vehicles to squeeze by each other, there are a few spots that definitely only fit one car. In addition, those particular areas are on the side of the mountain, with no place to pull off. So you'll need to go slow in the event you meet another vehicle and one of you will need to backup. If you're speeding over the gravel road on its washboard surface and need to slam on your brakes, you just might have seen your last mountain vista.

 

Hiking near Kalispell: Jewel Basin - Birch LakeSo once you've made it to the trailhead, there are multiple options for hiking. There is a map there, a restroom (outhouse) and a parking lot that can fit about 20 cars. On the gorgeous Sunday we visited the park, there were also cars parked quite a way down the road. It was perfect hiking weather.

 

I can't speak to all the different hikes, but I can let you know about the Camp Misery trailhead to Birch Lake trail. When leaving the parking area, you'll take the 717 trail which is located to the right of the ranger house. You'll follow that about 1.5 miles until you get to an area where three trails branch off. If you take the Alpine 7 trail from there, and hike another 1.5 miles, you'll reach Birch Lake. The trail map lists this as a moderate hike, as there is a fair amount of uphill and downhills required. There are also some narrow trails on the side of the mountains. But it's a great hike and is not that difficult. It did take us about 4 hours to do the round trip, which included one detour (see next paragraph).

 

After we had hiked about a mile from the parking area, there was a narrow trail that went up to the right, up to the top of the mountain. On a clear day, you see the entire quarter mile path while standing at the bottom. Most people walked right by, but we decided to hike up to the top. The detour was definitely worth a little huffing and puffing! We were greeted by an amazing 360 degree view of many rugged mountains, and most of the Flathead Valley. It's a sight not to be missed.

 

 

The entire hike took us from an elevation of 5,760 feet at the parking lot (3,090 feet at the beginning of that 7 mile road!) to 6,427 at the top of the detour trail I mentioned above. It was an amazing day for a hike, as all the photos here show.

 

I would definitely recommend hiking at the Jewel Basin, and I'm sure we'll be attempting some of the many miles of trails at another time. The access road was more stressful than the hiking!

 

Happy trails!

 

 

Originally published at thehousekat.com.

Posted by

 

Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat

Licensed Associate Broker, CBR®

Grand Lux Realty, Inc.

428 Main Street

Armonk, NY 10504 *

* still supporting Monroe NY, Orange & Rockland counties.

 

914-419-0270 (cell)

email: kat@thehousekat.com

www.thehousekat.com

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Rainmaker
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Brian England
Arizona Focus Realty - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

Wow, that is such beautiful scenery, I knew that you would find some great hiking in Montana!  Happy Birthday to you, hope that your day will be fun!!!

Sep 03, 2019 07:15 AM #3
Rainmaker
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Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

Gorgeous scenery Kat. Quite the adventure just arriving at the trailhead.

Happy birthday!

Sep 03, 2019 07:40 AM #4
Rainmaker
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Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning again Kat and Happy Birthday too. I see you are beginning to piublish the sights in your new home. Looks great.

Sep 03, 2019 07:50 AM #5
Rainmaker
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Sharon Lee
Sharon Lee's Virtual Assistance - Jonesborough, TN
Retired and loving life

What a gorgeous view. I have been watching a gal on you tube who hiked the entire Appalachian Trail last summer. Some beautiful places. This year she is hiking the PCT.

Happy birthday to you.

Sep 03, 2019 08:13 AM #6
Rainmaker
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Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

Hi Kat,
First of all Happy Birthday. You must be in your own little bit of Heaven in Montana! 

Sep 03, 2019 08:47 AM #7
Rainmaker
1,398,552
Jeffrey DiMuria 321.223.6253 Waves Realty
Waves Realty - Melbourne, FL
Florida Space Coast Homes

Wow, the beauty of that hike is just amazing. One day...it is on my bucket list.

Sep 03, 2019 08:59 AM #8
Rainmaker
1,448,043
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667 (MT), 914-419-0270 (NY), Broker in NY with Grand Lux Realty and in MT with (coming soon!) - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Yes, Nina Hollander - No present could top the amazing fact that I'm in Montana!

Michael Jacobs - I don't want to sound like a weeny but I don't think I'd want to drive up to those hikes - I'd rather be a passenger so I could close my eyes. 

Brian England - Thank you for your good wishes! All is going just wonderfully.

 

Sep 03, 2019 12:12 PM #9
Rainmaker
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Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667 (MT), 914-419-0270 (NY), Broker in NY with Grand Lux Realty and in MT with (coming soon!) - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Lottie Kendall - the ride to the trailhead is a bit unnerving. At least for a newby to the area. Maybe I'll get used to it.

Thank you Sheila Anderson for your comments and birthday wishes. I appreciate it!

Sharon Lee - thank you! What is the lady's name? That sounds like something I'd love to see.

 

 

 

Sep 03, 2019 12:14 PM #10
Rainmaker
1,448,043
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667 (MT), 914-419-0270 (NY), Broker in NY with Grand Lux Realty and in MT with (coming soon!) - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Thank you Carol Williams - I am!

Jeffrey DiMuria 321.223.6253 Waves Realty - I'm happy to hear you might hike this area some day. It's just fantastic.

Sep 03, 2019 12:15 PM #11
Rainmaker
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Sharon Lee
Sharon Lee's Virtual Assistance - Jonesborough, TN
Retired and loving life

Kat Her name is Kate Cloud. She loves hiking and has a real zest for the outdoors.

Sep 03, 2019 12:22 PM #12
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Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Hi Kat- I'm dizzy just reading about your adventure. We were on a road similar to what you described once and the whole time I had my fingers crossed that we would not see an oncoming car. 

BTW...

Sep 03, 2019 04:13 PM #13
Rainmaker
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Valeria Mola
SIB Realty - Miami, Sunny Isles Beach - Sunny Isles Beach, FL
305-607-0709 SIB Realty

Interesting, thank you for an update, I bookmarked your post and read comments later, and follow your blog. ;'

Sep 03, 2019 06:39 PM #14
Rainmaker
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Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good afternoon Kat Palmiotti - you will never run out of adventurous trails where you are.  They are breathtaking sights.  I can just see coming up to another SUV on a narrow mountain pass.  That should be interesting.

Sep 04, 2019 02:07 PM #15
Rainmaker
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Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667 (MT), 914-419-0270 (NY), Broker in NY with Grand Lux Realty and in MT with (coming soon!) - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Kathy Streib - That's how I felt. We met one big truck when we were coming down. The driver of that truck somehow squeezed by us. I don't know how.

Thank you Valeria Mola !

Grant Schneider - We were in a pickup truck. I'm thinking an ATV would be a better choice for access!

Sep 05, 2019 05:13 AM #16
Rainmaker
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Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
DFW FINE PROPERTIES - Fort Worth, TX
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Oh, Kat Palmiotti - I'm so happy to read this post! I see that the adventures have begun and you're living life to the fullest. All the stress you once had selling your home in NY is over, finished, gone! Cheers to the best next Chapter!!! I love what you're doing, living life to the fullest, learning about new trails. Nothing will be boring!

I'm rooting for you!!!!

Sep 05, 2019 03:11 PM #17
Rainmaker
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Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667 (MT), 914-419-0270 (NY), Broker in NY with Grand Lux Realty and in MT with (coming soon!) - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

I have not been bored for one second since we arrived! This Saturday we're going to see the dragon boat races. I'm sure I'll have something to say about that as well!

And then I'm meeting you the following week!

Sep 05, 2019 03:17 PM #18
Rainmaker
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Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
DFW FINE PROPERTIES - Fort Worth, TX
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Kat Palmiotti - I can't wait! I have a feeling once we start talking, neither one of us will be bored or run out of things to say! 

Dragon boat races? I never heard of it but wait.... you can tell me all about it next week!!!

Sep 05, 2019 03:26 PM #19
Rainmaker
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Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

This is such an exciting time for you Kat Palmiotti.  I remember reading about your eventual move. It seems so long ago and now here you are.   Before you know it, your home will be built and you will be on your way. 

You are in your element and these hikes are what the soul needs.  I have been on my share of washboard roads. So I get it!  Keep exploring and having the time of your life!

Sep 06, 2019 06:59 AM #20
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Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
RE/MAX Northwest. - Tacoma, WA
Tacoma Washington Agent/Broker & Market Authority!

Both my grand parents were born in Montana and I have discovered it would take a lifetime to even scratch the surface of discovering all the wonders Kat Palmiotti 

Sorry I missed your birthday...

Sep 11, 2019 03:19 PM #21
Rainmaker
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Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667 (MT), 914-419-0270 (NY), Broker in NY with Grand Lux Realty and in MT with (coming soon!) - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Sheri Sperry - MCNE® - The foundation is in, concrete is poured, well is drilled, and framing starts tomorrow! Everything remains exciting!

Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS - Thank you for the birthday wishes, and yes, I think I could hike for the next 30 years and STILL have a lot left to see.

Sep 11, 2019 03:43 PM #22
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