“A nice hike through an old burn to a lake popular with waterfowl, especially Common Loons.
— Jake Bramante
Birding · Lake · Spring · Wildflowers · Wildlife
Kids would enjoy the beginning of the hike to the lake.
Bring bear spray.
The trail to Howe Lake is a nice spring hike due to the flowers and birds. The trailhead is on the Inside North Fork Road, however, which doesn't open up until later in the year. Access in spring is done either by biking the road or parking at the Huckleberry Lookout Trail
trailhead and using the McGee Meadow Ski Trail
to cross McGee Meadow.
From the trailhead, the trail works its way through an older burn area with short sections of older stands of trees. This alternating habitat creates a nice variety of birds from warblers to chickadees to woodpeckers. This trail can be pretty swampy in the spring, so make sure you have appropriate shoes.
Howe Lake is two bodies of water joined by a swampy wetland. After a short hike, you get to the shoreline of the first body of water. This lake is a frequent nesting site for Common Loons and they generally choose the upper body of water. Signs in the area state the restricted area.
Most visitors to Howe Lake turn around at the first lake, but you can continue on as it gradually climbs up through almost exclusively burn area to the poorly maintained Howe Ridge Trail
. This section from the lake to the ridge line frequently has downed trees.
This content was created by Jake Bramante of Hike 734. Visit hike734.com
for more expert Glacier content and maps that help you decide which trail to hike.
Flora & Fauna
Forest flowers such as arnica, beargrass, and fireweed later in the summer are very common. Squirrels and deer are frequent while bear are occasionally seen. Birding is great from chickadees to warblers to woodpeckers as well as some raptors.