Mount Aeneas, at 7,528 feet, is the highest peak in Flathead National Forest. Although these mountains are less impressive than those of nearby Glacier National Park, the range offers lots of great opportunities away from crowds in the park. One of the best destinations is Mount Aeneas and Jewel Basin. Hiking to the summit of Mount Aeneas and down to the lakes of the basin can be done in a moderately strenuous, incredibly scenic loop from Camp Misery Trailhead near Bigfork.
The trail begins as a closed gravel road that soon links with Trail 717. This reaches a junction with three other trails, where you continue on Trail 717. The path climbs to the top of the ridge for fantastic 360-degree view over Flathead Lake, Jewel Basin and the peaks of Glacier National Park in the distance. For a less-strenous version of this hike, you can backtrack to the car from here, but the views only get better by continuing to the summit. Along this exposed ridge, you are likely to see mountain goats that make their home up here.
The summit marks another good turnaround point, to make a round trip of about 6 miles, but you can continue into Jewel Basin to extend the adventure. Descend the eastern flank of the mountain and follow the trail as it curves north, where secluded alpine lakes and mossy groves await in the shadow of the mountain. Link with Trail 392 to pass between the Picnic Lakes and make a short climb back up and over the ridge to complete the loop. You can also combine with other trails in the area to explore a longer day hike or overnight trek.
Note: Black bears and grizzlies do inhabit the area, so practice proper bear safety and carry bear spray. All dogs should be kept on a leash.