Hike to Finger Lake

8-19 finger lake 1

The trip into Finger Lake outside of Whitefish is a gentle hike for the entire family. Hikers wind through mature trees climbing up until the trail finally comes to an overlook offering an impressive view of the aptly-named long lake.

Much of the trail is in shade, making it the perfect hike for warmer days, and there’s always the lake to cool off in once you get there. The trail gains only 100 feet in the 1.5 miles to the lake.

There is some up and down climbing on the trail that is often marked by large boulders and tree roots. There are two small stream crossing with bridges, but later in the season these are likely to be dry.

The trail can be lined with wildflowers depending on the season and there’s always the promise of picking a few huckleberries along the way.

The unique lake is lined by cliffs and just after getting to the lake, hikers can make their way down onto a large ledge that offers a good spot to take in the blue waters and have lunch.

Following the trail around the right side of the lake for extra exploration and more views from rock ledges. There are numerous spots that allow for access to the water for those wanting to cool their feet and for dogs who like to swim.

To get there from Whitefish, drive west on U.S. Highway 93 for about 22 miles. Follow the signs to the Upper Stillwater Campground.

The trailhead is just before the campground on the right side of the road. This is also the trailhead for Lagoni Lake, which is a 1-mile hike.

The trail starts as a road, but eventually narrows. About a quarter-mile into the hike, the trail splits with the left fork heading to Lagoni Lake and the right to Finger Lake.

Just before Finger Lake, a fork in the trail allows for a quick trip to Wall Lake. Take the trail to the left, to hike about a half-mile to Wall Lake.

— Heidi Desch / This Week Whitefish

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