Featured HIKING TRAILS
On the western side of Glacier National Park, the Great Northern Traverse skirts the Canada border, crossing truly magnificent Continental Divide terrain before exiting the park at its northeastern boundary. At 58 miles, this is a long (seven- to ten-day) haul in grizzly country, requiring snowfield-crossing skills and strong legs.
Between Troy and Libby in the Kootenai National Forest, the Skyline National Recreation Trail (#13) rolls 15 miles along a series of peaks in the Purcell Mountains until dropping down to the Yaak River. The southern trailhead is on FS399 off FS600 near Libby, while the northern trailhead is on the Yaak River along SR508 near FS471 north of Troy.
North of Missoula in the Lolo National Forest, the Sawmill Curry Trail System for hiking is within the 61,000 acre Rattlesnake National Recreation Area and runs the arid praire hills. The 12+ miles of blazed hiking routes started as livestock trails and logging skids. The main route is the Stuart Peak Trail (#24).
Northwest of Red Lodge in the Custer National Forest, the 28 mile East Rosebud Trail runs along the Beartooth Plateau past waterfalls, lakes and meadows full of huckleberries. Starting from 6,000 feet at the East Rosebud Trailhead, the route climbs 4,000 feet of vertical and ends at the Clarks Fork Trailhead.
One of the most scenic hikes in Glacier National Park is the 56 mile Northern Circle route. Best hiked counterclockwise, it is recommended to start from Many Glaciers and then trek to Ptarmigan Tunnel, toElizabeth Lake, to Dawn Mist Falls, and on to the Belly River. Then push on to Cosley Lake, to Glenn Lake, to Fifty Mountain, to Granite Park Chalet and to Switftcurrent Pass before returning to Many Glaciers.
Near Hungry Horse in the Flathead National Forest, the 15 mile round-trip to Sunburst Lake is worth the hiking trek. It is an alpine lake in a cirque at the base of glacier studded Swan Peak. The best trailhead is accessible from Hungry Horse.
Northwest of St Mary in Glacier National Park, the trip to Grinnell Glacier from Many Glacier combines hiking with two boat trips while passing a total of 37 glaciers, snow bridges, crevasses and ice caves. Since there can be long lines for the boats, the best best is to be on the first one from Many Glacier across Swiftcurrent Lake.
Northwest of St Mary in Glacier National Park, the 27 mile Ptarmign Tunnel loop is considered to be one of the parks best backpack trips. Starting from Many Glacier, this three-day hiking route heads up the Wilbur Creek drainage and over to Ptarmigan Lake.
Southeast of Missoula and Lolo in the Bitterroot National Forest, the 70 mile Easthouse National Recreation Trail follows the Skalkaho Mountain divide north from Skalkaho Pass. Also known as the Bitterroot Rock Creek Divide Trail (#313), there are two forks along this trail. One fork of the trail joins the Palisade Trail. The other fork follows the divide north along the Skalkaho Game Preserve.
In the Bitterroot National Forest, the six mile long Palisade Mountain Trail skirts the northern edge of the 20,000-acre Skalkaho Game Preserve and ends at Burnt Fork Lake in the Sapphire Mountains. The route travels along the ridge offering views of the scenic Bitterroot Mountains and opportunities to see big game. The trailhead is located 18 miles northeast of Hamilton on the Willow Creek Road, and has a developed campsite.
The Pacific Northwest Trail is a 1,200 mile hiking route running west from the Continental Divide in Montana through northern Idaho and Washington to the Pacific Ocean. It ranks among the most scenic trails in the world. This carefully chosen path is high for the views and long on adventure.
West of St Marys in Glacier National Park, the popular 20 mile Gunsight Pass Trail passes more glaciers than any other hiking trail in the park. It starts from the Jackson Glacier Overlook west of St Marys on Going-To-The-Sun Road.