Thursday, August 15, 2013

Beautiful Bigfork, MT

The difference between Missoula, MT, where we just stayed, and our new location, Bigfork, MT, is striking. We are back in the green again! Bigfork is perched on the North East corner of Flathead Lake, the largest natural freshwater lake West of the Mississippi, and is bordered by the Swan and Mission Mountains. Many small lakes dot the landscape here, the Swan River runs through town and tiny streams flow off the mountains everywhere.

We chose to stay here both to enjoy this lovely area and to visit our good friends Paula and Leslie, former neighbors in San Diego who have owned a rental cabin in the area for years and are currently house sitting a lovely 10 acre property on the Swan River.

This gorgeous property on the Swan River is so peaceful and private
you never want to leave!

We love meeting up with friends in gorgeous places!
From left: Hans, Leslie, Lisa, Paula.

Early evening view of the Swan River and Mission Mountains.

For our first hike in the area we went for The Jewel. Jewel Basin is just a few miles North East of Bigfork in the Flathead National Forest. Covering 15,000 acres with 35 miles of trails for hikers only, this Jewel of backcountry access is gorgeous. Trails lead you to lakes of all sizes, small mountains, and extensive views, with good opportunities for mountain goat and bear sightings.

We chose to hike to Birch Lake. We had expansive views of the upper Flathead Valley and Lake as we hiked but haze from distant fires made for poor pictures. During our hike around Birch Lake we met two people who had just come out of the backcountry trail beyond the lake and only moments before encountered a grizzly bear! Needless to say, we were on extra high alert after that but never saw bear or mountain goats.

Often the trail was surrounded by masses of color.

On the way to Birch Lake you have excellent views into the Flathead Valley
though we had smoke haze on the day we hiked.
Tiny Martha Lake sits in the basin directly below us.

Pretty Birch Lake was too large to fit in the photo.
The water was crystal clear and looked inviting!
Mountain goats are said to frequent the area, as well as bear.

Today we'll take advantage of highs expected to be in the low 90's and do a little float on the Swan River with our friends. Life is good!


  1. It sure is nice to see green country and blue lakes that are full. Our lakes are almost mud puddles and we are not green. Thanks for blogging for us all.

  2. It looks gorgeous up there. Love all the green and lakes! Have fun on your river float.

  3. Wow! Gorgeous pics...thanks for sharing!

  4. Great Lakes, I'd say! You can have Superior, Huron, and Erie. How about finding old Griz and getting his photograph :)
    Box Canyon Mark

  5. Yes, we love Big Fork! Did you get to Roma's Kitchen store? When are you going to be in Columbia Falls/Glacier. We will not be here this weekend (Friday - Sunday) as we are flying to Chicago for a class Reunion. We will be around all next week.
    Safe Travels,


  6. Even with the smoke the valley looks lovely. Birch Lake and the surrounding mountain are beautiful.

    Have a great float! Take pictures!

  7. So beautiful. We are heading that way in two weeks. Hope the forest fires die down and that your encounters with grizzlies are only through a long lens.

  8. The area looks gorgeous and if all goes as planned, we should be up there this time next week. I really like that you are visiting areas ahead of us and giving us a preview.

  9. Beautiful pictures. Makes me long for Montana.