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Montana Hiking Trails

This site is designed to provide quick access to informative Montana hiking and backpacking websites. Hiking enthusiasts like you have created excellent web pages on Montana hiking trails -- then posted those pages on free web servers -- only to be ignored by search engines. The purpose of this site is to provide a way to find these personal hiking pages, and make your research easier.

  • Bass Lake Trail well done page on the MontanaTrailGear.com website...excellent description, trip report, wicked-cool photos. These guys are quickly emerging as the "go-to" guys for all things Montana hiking.


  • Bozeman Area sort of a "do-all" weekend trip report on the trailstotrout.com site. Some hiking, some fishing, some camping...sounds good...despite the fact that I wasn't invited, I still like this page.


  • Flathead National Forest good laundry list of key trails, with directions, short descriptions, length, elevation gain, etc. on TheOutdoorForum.com website.


  • General Site Cooltrails.com site; not as many trails listed as some others listed here, but the individual trail descriptions (see links for specific areas on this page) are top-quality must-read.


  • General Site Northwest Hiking Clickable map with over 100 trails. Excellent site.


  • General Site This is the "Big Sky Outdoors" site which -- in addition to hiking -- has all the outdoorsy Montana stuff. Skiing, kayaking, camping, you name it. Good jumping off point for getting basic trail information on the popular National Park & NF trails. Nicely done, site by Lisa Halford.


  • Glacier Lake Not to be confused with Glacier National Park, immediately below. Glacier Lake isn't in GNP, or at least not this one. There are numerous "glacial lakes" in GNP of course...this one is in the Mission Mountains Wilderness. Unfortunately I haven't found a decent site about it, so here's my description: Glacier Lake Trail easy one-mile hike to an incredible lake and mountain vista set in the Mission Mountains Wilderness. Trail is ideal for hikers of any ability -- including adventuresome three year olds -- and is open from mid-June to October. Directions: drive south from Condon for five miles on Hwy. 83, then turn west on Kraft Creek Rd. (FR #561) for 11 miles. This is a gravel road which has logging traffic during the week. The trail leads across the creek several times (fear not; bridges are in place). Those seeking greater adventure use this trail as a springboard to more remote sights. Update: BigSkyFishing.com indeed has a web page on Glacier Lake. They tell us it's a beautiful, quiet, get-away-from-it-all kind of place that they're trying to keep secret.


  • Glacier National Park -- Swiftcurrent Pass planned summit of Ahearn foiled by a snowfield evolves into a epic hike with stunning views of Grinnel Glacier, etc. good photo journal by Al Sayers.


  • Glacier National Park -- Iceberg Lake 9 mile roundtrip from the Many Glacier Area; narrative and photos on the Natural Born Hikers website. If this is your first visit to the NBHers, take notice -- this is how a trail narrative should be done.


  • Glacier National Park -- General This is the Glacier NP hiking page on the BigSkyFishing.com site. The page this link goes to is a general overview of hiking in the park; look on the upper left for links to three specific trails: Apgar Lookout Trail, Grinnell Glacier Trail, and Scenic Point Trail. Each of these features a well written trail description and photos along the way. Great site by "Jim H."


  • Glacier National Park -- Logan's Pass Trail Trail maps & area trail summaries by trailmonkey.com.


  • Glacier National Park -- Many Glacier Trail maps & area trail summaries by trailmonkey.com. Trailmonkey is one of those sites that looks genuinely irritating at first (unless you're really partial to chimpanzees) but upon closer inspection is a "must click" sort of site. They do an excellent job.


  • Glacier National Park -- General This is called "Patricia's Montana Various Day Hikes" and as a site, it has ZERO style but MUCHO substance. Patricia provides efficient directions to a number of trailheads, then gives a short but extremely informative narrative for each hike. This is a real good source of information for hikes from Two Medicine, Lake McDonald, Many Glacier, Cut Bank and Rising Sun trailheads. She's got a good mix of the long brutal hikes and the short easy ones. Mileages, suggestions, comments...Patricia even tells you which hikes you shouldn't do. This is a must-click if you are hiking in Glacier NP. The link takes you to a table-of-contents type page, and from there you click and get all kinds of good stuff. Again, no sizzle, but lots of steak.


  • Glacier National Park -- Two Medicine Trail maps & area trail summaries by -- you guessed it -- trailmonkey.com. Ever see a TV show called Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp from the 1970s? It was painful. Anyway, I guess the name "trailmonkey" kind of grows on you.


  • Glacier National Park -- Sperry Chalet via Gunsight Pass another well-documented hiking narrative from the Natural Born Hikers. Lots of great photos of this beautiful but brutal hike. Must read if you're planning the overnight at Sperry.


  • Jewel Basin interesting day hike report on the trailstotrout.com site.


  • Libby Area Trails near Libby, MT Includes Flathead Mt., many popular dayhikes & backpacking trips.


  • Lolo National Forest USFS basic info site. No hiking specific info, but this page is important if you need to be familiar with camping regs, maps, latest news, etc.


  • Lolo National Forest geology page. Real good stuff here...and it's from the Forest Service! Incredible! Anyway, it's not a hiking page, but I firmly believe you should understand the terra firma upon which you tread, so here it is.


  • Lolo Trail on the Lewis & Clark TrailAdventures.com site. Narrative, description, photos, details. Good webpage.


  • Mission Mountains Multi-day Backpack trip report on the trailstotrout site. Again, I was not invited for some inexplicable reason; perhaps next time. Anyway, this is a great site. Check it out.


  • Mission Mountains This is the official National Forest Site for the Mission Mountains Wilderness Area, although that fact is not readily obvious (scroll a bit). Navigation is, uh, cryptic...but the site has a lot of info if you're persistent.


  • Rattlesnake Recreation Area sort of an intro page on the WinterMt.com site.


  • Red Lodge Area Trails near Red Lodge, MT. with excellent photos. Well done personal page.


Made their way to wild Montana...

I've explored Montana from the "Big Empty" (Northeast) to Glacier, the Big Flathead, and more...and I always feel tired when I think about it. Being an easterner, the wide open spaces and "hugeness" of everything is mind-boggling. Can't wait to return.

Two books that I like: First, Bill & Russ Schneider's Hiking Montana. This is the "general" book...all the must-see hikes, geographically scattered, something for everyone. This is the book that will help you make sure you don't miss an awesome hike that would otherwise be unknown. The second is Trails Illustrated Glacier, Waterton Lakes National Parks which is more of a technical sort of guide; quite thorough. It assumes that you can get the basics from the net or the Park Service, so the topo info and all the facts and figures are here...very little fluffy stuff. Not for armchair reading...this is for the get out and go.

The intro here is a real obscure curveball. If you recognized "made their way to wild Montana..." from Hoyt Axton's American Dreams, give yourself a pat on the back and the full 10 slackpacker trivia points. In case that one is just too tough, give yourself two slackpacker trivia points if you knew that Hoyt appeared in Gremlins (he played the dad, the nutty inventor) or Heart Like a Wheel (he played the nutty dad). Or you can take four slackpacker trivia points if you knew that he appeared in an episode of WKRP in Cincinnati as Loni Anderson's ex-boyfriend from "back home." Take three points if you knew that he penned Three Dog Night's classic Joy to the World. Anyway, Hoyt lived in Montana until his death at age 58 a few years ago. Done too soon.

-- Rick Bolger

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PS: Have a dinner invitation? Instead of bringing a bottle of humdrum wine or some meaningless flowers, consider bringing a copy of Like a Brother by Gerry Beckley, Robert Lamm, and Carl Wilson. If those names sound familiar, they should. Beckley is a key member of the group America, and you know his voice from Sister Golden Hair. Robert Lamm is still the driving force behind the group Chicago, perhaps his signature song is Saturday in the Park. The late Carl Wilson was the angelic-voiced youngest brother of the Wilson clan, also known as The Beach Boys. His was the ethereal lead on God Only Knows. This album was recorded just prior to Wilson's passing, finished by Beckley and Lamm, and released after a battle with the label. Few have heard it, but those who do are generally at a loss for words to describe the incredible beauty captured on this disc. It is arguably a cut above anything else released in the past decade. If you click on the link (to Amazon) you can listen to samples of a few of the selections.

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