Northwest Montana Walks

Photo by Jim Chapman

Climb for wildflowers, learn about fungus, or explore during our annual WildFest

Please pay attention to Early and Late Seasons and their sign-up dates

Northwest Montana


Tuesday, May 21 (Early Season)

Columbia Mountain Wildflowers (Hike Full)

Location: Columbia Falls
Miles/Difficulty: 3 miles/Moderate
Leaders: Grete Gansauer and Ellen Horowitz

The Columbia Mountain Trail is a flower-lover's paradise, so join us for an evening wildflower walk that travels from moist, damp sites to dry, open slopes where we're sure to find the balsamroot in bloom.

Register for WAITLIST 



Thursday, May 23 (Early Season)

Ross Creek Cedars Ecology

Location: Troy
Miles/Difficulty: 1 mile/Easy
Leaders: Grete Gansauer and Annie Gassmann

Bring your sense of curiosity as we discover the unique ecosystem of the old-growth cedar forest. We'll learn about the ecology of this old-growth plant community, from thousand-year-old trees to tiny ferns and mushrooms to the animals that call this quiet forest home.

Register for Walk



Sunday, June 9 (Early Season)

Roderick Mountain  (Hike Full)

Location: Troy
Miles/Difficulty: 9 miles/Moderately Strenuous 
Leaders: Anthony South and Jane Jacoby

Join the Yaak Valley Forest Council to experience the wilderness of the Roderick roadless area. From the face of Roderick Mountain, expect expansive views of the valley and surrounding mountains.

Register for waitlist



Saturday, June 22 (Early Season)

Water Hill Ridge 

Location: Trout Creek
Miles/Difficulty: 6 miles/Strenuous
Leaders: Doug Ferrell and Melinda Ferrell

This ridge-top hike provides great views up and down the Clark Fork River, into the proposed wilderness of the Cataract Roadless Area, and up into the high country of the Vermillion River.

Register for walk



Sunday, June 23 (Early Season)

Adventures with Lichen (Hike Full)

Location: Whitefish
Miles/Difficulty: 3 miles/Easy
Leaders: Raser Powell and Skye Hatfield

Discover the small wonders of the northwest Montana's forests with student researchers from the Flathead Valley Community College's Antibiotic Potential of Flathead Fungi and Flora research project.

Register for Waitlist



Friday, June 28 (Early Season)

Star Peak Pulaski Lift

Location: Heron
Miles/Difficulty: 10 miles/Extremely Strenuous
Leaders: Sandy Compton and Chris Compton

This hike will support the Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness trail crew. Participants should come prepared to pack in 10 to 12 pounds of trail tools, water, and food in addition to their own gear.

Register for Walk



Wednesday, July 10 (Early Season)

Big Spar Lake

Location: Noxon
Miles/Difficulty: 6 miles/Moderate
Leaders: Pat McLeod and Grete Gansauer

Join us on a hike near the proposed Scotchman Peaks Wilderness. This new trail winds behind Spar Lake, offering views of the lake through old growth cedar and hemlock forest and green understory plants.

Register for Walk



Saturday, July 13 (Early Season)

Coal Ridge Lookout

Location: Polebridge
Miles/Difficulty: 7 miles/Strenuous
Leaders: Bill Walker and Randy Kenyon

This hike climbs steadily through undisturbed forest and sub-alpine meadow until it reaches the site of an old fire lookout on the crest of Coal Ridge, offering broad views of Flathead National Forest and Glacier National Park.

Register for Walk



Sunday, July 14 (Early Season)

Mt. Aeneas Whitebark Pine Ecology (Hike Full)

Location: Big Fork
Miles/Difficulty: 6 miles/Strenuous
Leaders: Melissa Jenkins and Julee Shamhart

On this hike, we'll discuss whitebark pine ecology and restoration on the way up to the summit of Mount Aeneas.

Register for WAITLIST



Sunday, July 28 (Early Season)

Nasukoin Peak (Hike Full)

Location: Polebridge
Miles/Difficulty: 10 miles/Extremely Strenuous
Leaders: Debo Powers and Jen Fugatt

Nasukoin is the highest peak in the Whitefish Range (on this side of the border), with a trail that switchbacks up to Lake Mountain with spectacular views of Link Lake and the Chain Lakes below.

Register for waitlist



Wednesday, July 31 (Early Season)

Hemlock Lake (Hike Full)

Location: Condon
Miles/Difficulty: 8 miles/Moderately Strenuous
Leaders: Kari Gunderson and Anne Dahl

Travel through the 2003 Crazy Horse Fire, where we'll see a mosaic of both burned and unburned areas.

Register for Waitlist



Friday, August 9 (Late Season)

Bluebird Lake

Location: Eureka
Miles/Difficulty: 5 miles/Moderate
Leaders: CJohn Larson and Carol Barnes

The hike climbs steadily through the forest up the Bluebird Creek drainage across some avalanche paths, easy creek crossings, and scenic openings.

Register for Walk



Saturday, August 24 (Late Season)

Jewel Basin - Ladies' Yoga 

Location: Bigfork
Miles/Difficulty: 7 miles/Moderately Strenuous
Leaders: Jennifer Fugatt and Ashley Tetu

Breath deeply and relax with a yoga practice in the serenity of the Jewel Basin. We'll hike to Picnic Lakes with our yoga mats and set up in a grassy meadow for our yoga practice, led by instructor Ashley Tetu.

Register for walk



Saturday, September 7 (previously Friday the 6th)

WILDFEST - Birch Lake (Hike Full)

'Location: Bigfork
Miles/Difficulty: 6 miles/Moderate
Leaders: John Larson and Carol Barnes

Please Note: This was previously listed in the trail book for Friday, September 6.

The trail begins at Camp Misery and climbs up a ridge and across the side of Mount Aeneas, providing fabulous views of the Flathead Valley. *This hike is part of WildFest.

Register for waitlist



Saturday, September 7 (Late Season)

WILDFEST - Swift Creek

Location: Whitefish
Miles/Difficulty: 1 mile/Easy
Leaders: John Hartlieb and Kathi Hartlieb

Please Note: This was previously listed in the trail book for Friday, September 6. 

Join us on this easy loop trail through a varied landscape of old growth forest, riparian areas, and a dry section that includes many ponderosa pines. *This hike is part of WildFest.

Register for Walk



Saturday, September 7 (Late Season)

WILDFEST - Stanton Lake 

Location: Essex
Miles/Difficulty: 4 miles/Moderately Strenuous
Leaders: Mary Freniere

Join us on this Flathead Valley favorite, a classic hike that offers all the solitude and wildlife viewing opportunities of the Great Bear Wilderness in a short round trip. *This hike is part of WildFest.

Register for walk


Newly Added:

Saturday, September 7 (Late Season)

WILDFEST - Glacier View Mountain

Location: Columbia Falls
Miles/Difficulty: 7.6 miles/Difficult
Leaders: Chris Rost

Hike the ridge to the summit of Glacier View Mountain for views of both Glacier National Park and the North Fork Basin of the Flathead Valley.

Register for Walk


Newly Added:

Saturday, September 7 (Late Season)

WILDFEST - Columbia Mountain Waterfall (Hike Full)

Location: Kalispell
Miles/Difficulty: 5 miles/Moderate
Leaders: Sheena Pate

Explore the northwestern edge of the Swan Mountain Range on this moderate hike that goes approximately halfway up the trail to the summit of Columbia Mountain.

Register for Waitlist


Newly Added:

Saturday, September 7 (Late Season)

WILDFEST - Lone Pine State Park Loop (Hike Full)

Location: Kalispell
Miles/Difficulty: 3.4 miles/Moderate
Leaders: Amy Pearson

 Learn about the local wildlife and forest ecology, and stop at one of the many lookouts to catch views of Big Mountain, Flathead Lake, the Jewel Basin, and even Glacier National Park.

Register for Waitlist



Saturday, September 14 (Late Season)

Cataract Creek

Location: Trout Creek
Miles/Difficulty: 7 miles/Strenuous
Leaders: Doug Ferrell and Melinda Ferrell

This magical creek-bottom hike in the Cataract Creek Proposed Wilderness starts by fording the Vermillion River. Then, we'll walk up the wild Cataract Creek through scattered monster white pine.

Register for Walk