The Lupine Lake Trail is an out and back of approximately 4.8 miles round trip located west of Kalispell Montana. The trail is suitable for rear-driven handcycles and will require significant assistance from a strong able bodied person. The assistance will primarily be required to ascend an extremely steep, loose and off-camber section of trail during the return ride where the helper will need to do most of the work in pushing a rider uphill while spotting them in order to prevent a nasty fall to the rocks below.
The trail begins from Griffin Creek road, making a series of switchbacks through mature forest as it descends steeply for approximately 250 feet in elevation in just 0.25 miles towards a crossing of Griffin Creek. The final switchback is extremely off-camber and rutted with loose material so riders should have a spotter here.
After crossing Griffin Creek the trail climbs a small ridge out of the creek bottom before a small amount of flat stretches interrupted by occasional rises and falls. At approximately 0.7 miles the trail begins a long and steady climb of around 500 feet before reaching the small basin containing Lupine Lake at approximately 2.4 miles. This stretch of trail passes through open forest along a small ridgeline.
The lake is surrounded by trees making fishing from the banks a challenge, however a small camping area and fire pit providing a pleasant place to relax and enjoy some lunch.
The return ride is a pleasant, generally downhill trip back to Griffin Creek, followed by the dangerous switchback where assistance will be needed and the climb back uphill to the road will stretch the endurance of even fit riders.
Trail Name: Lupine Lake
Location: Kalispell, Montana | Map
Type: Narrow trail (< 30"), Wide trail (≥ 30″), Start and end at the same point (Out-and-Back)
Rating: Adaptive Level 09
Steepest Section: Difficult – over 30º
Most Off-Camber Section: Difficult – over 30º
Terrain: Mostly hardpack, lengthy loose sections
Obstacles: Root exposure, Deep ruts and erosion, Baby heads and/or rock gardens, Ravines, drop-ins, Drops, ledges, jumps, Water crossings
Help Needed? Yes, a lot
Even more info: Forest Service Info
Directions to Trailhead
This trail can be accessed from Whitefish or Kalispell. The Trailhead is located on the Griffin Creek Road (FS Rd #538), there is a pull out area with a trailhead sign that provides room for 3-4 vehicles. Griffin Creek Road can be accessed by the Star Meadow Road or Hwy 2 West onto 543 and then turn onto FS Rd #538.