What else does one do on a beautiful Summer Sunday but find a new hiking trail that one has not yet explored? OK, maybe that wouldn't be your first choice, but if it would, then this might be the trail for your next Sunday adventure!
Kootenai National Forest is located on the far northwestern corner of Montana extending from the Canadian border down south of Kalispell and Libby in Montana, and across the Idaho border. The national forest includes more than 2 million acres of land and hundreds of miles of hiking trails. We only explored about two and a half of those hiking miles.
To get to the Lupine Lake Trail, head out of Kalispell on Route 2. Approximately 19 miles west of the Route 2/Route 93-Alt interchange, you'll find yourself in Marion MT. Make a right onto Pleasant Valley Road. Continue on that road for about five and a half or six miles. You'll pass Little Bitterroot Lake on your left. Once past the lake, you'll make the first right on Griffin Creek Road. Nearly eight miles up on your right hand side is the trailhead. There is parking for approximately six or so cars at the trailhead.
The trail itself is nearly five miles round trip. The path is very easy to navigate. It's been cleared and is easy to see. There was obviously a huge storm at some time in the past and many trees fell. From other hiker's comments, it appears that many of those trees had been blocking the path but they are all out of the way now!
The trail is billed as "medium" in terms of difficulty and I'd agree. At the beginning it heads downhill, winds past a waterfall and ends at the lowest portion down by a stream. There's a large flattened wood log that serves as a bridge over the stream once you reach the bottom. Then the rest of the trail is a combination of uphills, flat areas, and just a little downhills. Of course, on the return trip the reverse is true and the last piece of the trail is all uphill (but short in terms of length). This trail is available for hikers, horseback riders, mountain bikers and motorcycle riders. Dogs are allowed on leash.
I always enjoy hikes that end at a specific destination such as an overlook or lake. This one ends at a very peaceful mountain lake. It's small as Montana lakes go, but would be a nice size for rafting and fishing if you desired. Fish were visible as they came up to the top to snack on bugs. Birds were also chirping, but other than that we did not see any animals.
Another note, the trail is called Lupine Lake Trail. I am sure part of the reason for the "Lupine" name is because all along the side of the trail are tons of beautiful purple lupine flowers. Unfortunately I didn't get a great photo of them, but they do add to the ambiance of this hike!
I would definitely recommend this hike as a great way to spend a few hours! If you would like to read about other places to hike in Northwest Montana, click here. I'll add more hikes to the link in the future. If you would like to discuss hiking, any other aspect of life in the Kalispell area, or would like information about real estate, call me at 406-270-3667. Or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or meet me on the trails!
Originally published at thehousekat.com.