Jewel Basin Hiking Area | Montana
Montana's Jewel Basin is a day hiker's paradise and only a half-hour drive from downtown Kalispell. The area is studded with 25 alpine lakes and offers 35 miles of hiking trails and expansive views of the Flathead Valley to the west and Hungry Horse Reservoir and the Great Bear Wilderness to the east.
Hikes range from easy to strenuous depending on which route you choose. All trails involve some elevation gain.
Highlights and Best Features of this Trail
The Jewel Basin is specially designated for hiking and camping only. In addition to dramatic views, the area's 15,349 acres offer wildflower meadows, pristine lakes, and opportunities to see mountain goats and other wildlife. The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks stocks some of the lakes with native westslope cutthroat trout on a rotating basis. For specific information about which lakes have been stocked, contact the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, 490 Meridian Road in Kalispell, at 406-755-2701.
Download a PDF of the Jewel Basin Hiking Area Map below.
There are 35 miles of trails of varying distances. Maps of the Jewel Basin and its trails are available at the Kalispell Visitor Information Center, 15 Depot Park. Call 406-758-2809.
Trail Vertical Gain or Loss
Camp Misery Trailhead is located at 5,717 feet. The highest point in the trail system is the top of Mt. Aeneas at 7,528 feet.
Driving Directions from Nearest Town or Landmark
From Bigfork, Montana take Hwy 35 north to Hwy 83. Head east on Hwy 83 to the junction of the Echo Lake Road. Head north on Echo Lake Road about 3 miles to junction with the Jewel Basin Road (No. 5392). Follow this road approximalty 7 miles to the trailhead. CAUTION: The last 5 miles are steep. Use headlights for safety. Caution advised for low clearance vehicles. Trailers not recommended.
From Kalispell, Montana head east on Highway 2. Where Highway 2 curves and goes north, continue east on Highway 35. Make a left onto Lake Blaine Road which turns into Foothill Road. Foothill Road winds south along the base of the mountains. Turn left onto Jewel Basin Road (FS Road 5392) and follow it about 7 miles to the Camp Misery Trailhead. Caution: the last 5 miles are steep and not recommended for low-clearance vehicles.
Estimated Time it Takes to Experience this Trail
Plan on a minimum of 3 to 4 hours.
These trails are very popular from June through September. On beautiful summer days, you may share the trails with many fellow hikers (by Montana standards). The parking lot at Camp Misery can be crowded, especially on weekends.
Leaving from Camp Misery, the trail leads uphill through high mountain forests of spruce, fir and whitebark pine. The uppermost elevations of the trail system are above the tree-line.
The trails are mostly well-maintained packed dirt and rock. Be prepared for snow on the trail if you're hiking before the 4th of July. No mountain bikes, horses or motorized vehicles are allowed in the Jewel Basin area.
All dogs must be on leashes. Group size is limited to 12. Camping permits are not required.