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Swan Valley Gateways to the Missions


Crystal Lake (Beaver Creek Road)

Location: The Beaver Creek Road is located on the Swan-Clearwater Divide between mile marker 31-32 on Hwy. 83. Take the Beaver Creek Road west about 6-1/2 miles to the trailhead. A popular but steep and sometimes difficult trail provides access to Crystal Lake. Use: Moderate to Heavy.

Gray Wolf Lake (Beaver Creek Road)

Location: The trail to Gray Wolf Lake is also accessed via the Crystal Lake trailhead (see above). The Forest Service maintained trail ends north of Buck Lake where the trail goes onto Tribal lands. NOTE: By law, hikers are required to obtain a Tribal permit before hiking on the Flathead Indian Reservation.

Crystal Lake (Lindbergh Lake Road)

Location: Take the Lindbergh Lake Road #79 which joins Hwy. 83 near mile marker 34. Travel west for about 11 miles, following the signs to Bunyan and Meadow Lakes. (Trailers are not recommended on the road and the last few miles can be rough.) Facilities: The two-mile trail from Bunyan Lake to Crystal Lake is steep and rates as more difficult. Use: Moderate

Glacier Lake (Kraft Creek-Red Butte Road)

Location: Take the Kraft Creek Road at mile marker 36-37 on Hwy. 83. Travel on the graveled Forest Service road about 11 miles to the trailhead. Facilities: Trail provides access to Glacier Lake, Turquoise Lake and several other, small lakes. Glacier Lake, inside the Mission Mountains Wilderness boundary, has received heavy use in recent years and is off-limits to camping while wilderness rangers attempt to recover native vegetation. Use: Heavy.

Hemlock Lake (Kraft Creek-Red Butte Road)

Location: Take the Kraft Creek-Red Butte Road which joins Hwy. 83 near mile marker 37. Travel about 6-1/2 miles on a gravel road to the junction of the main road and the Red Butte Road. Follow the Red Butte Road and the Forest Service signs to the Hemlock Lake trailhead. Facilities: The trail to Hemlock Lake is rated medium to difficult. The lake is about 3 miles from the trailhead. North Hemlock Lake is also accessed from Hemlock Lake. Use: Light to moderate.

Cold Lakes (Cold Creek Road)

Location: Take the Cold Creek Road which joins Hwy. 83 about a mile north of the Condon Post Office. Follow the signs to the Cold Lakes trailhead about 7 miles from the highway. The last mile of the road is rough and the trailhead offers space for only a few vehicles. Facilities: The Cold Lakes area has been closed to camping in recent years because of overuse. Popular because of short hiking distance to lakes (two miles). Use: Heavy.

Jim Lakes (Cold Creek Road)

Location: Jim Lake is located on land owned by Plum Creek Timber, Inc. The trailhead for the Jim Lakes Basin can be reached by following the Cold Creek Road a mile north of the Condon Post Office. Follow the Forest Service signs. There are numerous lakes in the Jim Lakes Basin that can be reached by primitive trails (unmaintained - a lot of trees across the trail) or by bushwhacking.

Piper Lake (Piper Creek Road)

Location: Take the Piper Creek Road which joins Hwy. 83 about 7 miles north of the Condon Post Office. The Piper Creek Trail is located about 6 miles west of the highway and provides access to Piper Lake and Cedar Lake. (Cedar Lake, north of Piper Lake, may also be accessed via the Fatty Creek Road trailhead.) Trail is rated as more difficult. Use: Moderate

Cedar Lake (Fatty Creek Road)

Location: Take the Fatty Creek Road which joins Hwy. 83 near mile marker 50. Travel about 10 miles on a gravel road to the Cedar Lake Trailhead. Cedar Lake is about 4-1/2 to 5 miles from the trailhead. Facilities: Trail rated as moderate with some steep grades. Hikers can expect to meet some horses. Use: Moderate to Heavy.