Hiking in Flathead National Forest - July 2021

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with 406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, eXp Realty RRE-BRO-LIC-75443

If you live in the Kalispell Montana area, you know there are many options for hiking. For example, you could head up to Glacier National Park with its 700 miles of well-documented hiking trails, or perhaps go to Jewel Basin and hike one of their many popular trails. Or you could find a map, locate an off-the-beaten forest service road, and just head out. That's what we did this past weekend. Here's how it went.

 
Preparation

Any hiking trip in the Flathead Valley area requires proper preparation. Not only do you need decent hiking boots or shoes, you need to dress properly. Pants are usually a better choice than shorts, since you may be walking through tall grass and shrubs. And even if the sky is totally blue, pack a jacket. You never know how fast the sky can change in the forest. You'll also need something just in case you happen to encounter bears. Bear spray at a minimum, although many hikers in the area will carry a large and easily accessible handgun. A hat, bug spray, sunscreen, lots of water, and something to snack on if you will be gone for a while. So we did all that, grabbed the dog, and off we went.  

 

Pick a location

There are many out-of-the-way parts of the forest that can be accessed and enjoyed by the public. We decided to explore the forest southwest of Kalispell. We drove up a typical dirt and gravel Montana road for about four miles until we found the entrance to this particular hiking location. We parked at the entrance to the old forest service road and headed out.  

 
Crowds/Condition

One of the advantages to just picking a non-advertised service road in the forest is the lack of crowds. We were in the woods for several hours and saw no people. None. At. All. Which of course, also means any hike involves just you and the forest. So any crowds you might see will be of the avian, insect or mammal species. That is one of the benefits of finding an off the beaten path. Being one with nature. Hiking: Flathead National Forest July 2021 photo of overgrown road  

 

It's also important to note that a service road might not be in fantastic shape. In this particular instance, it looks like it's been quite a while since any forest service or lumber trucks drove up the road. So we were walking up a grassy road that got thinner and thinner with steadily thickening brush. That's half the fun, exploring and seeing what happens when nature starts taking back over.  

 

So what might you see?

Hiking: Flathead National Forest July 2021 photo of mountains This particular trail wound its way through pine and fir trees. In some areas, those that probably had never been logged, the brush and trees were very thick. That made it a perfect place to camouflage hiding animals, so we definitely kept an eye on the area just in case. In other parts of the forest, the trees were parked out and we could see into various valleys.

 

From where we parked to where we turned around, the trail continually climbed. During that climb, we wandered past a large grove of quaking aspens and a valley with the remnants of a cabin and outhouse hidden from casual observers. We went around curves, and would have seen stupendous views had the smoke not been so thick. On this day, the view was only amazing. But that still worked!  

 

And of course we saw living things. Mostly those living things on this day were deer, butterflies and birds, but after we had been walking for quite a while and had gotten far from the road, we also saw..   Hiking: Flathead National Forest July 2021 bear crap

 

Yep. Bear sign.

 

It was not steaming, but it was fresh.

 

So we decided we'd gone far enough for that day.

 

And we turned around and went home, to return yet another day.  

 

The moral of the story is... There are a ton of places to hike in the Flathead Valley and they are not all found on a trail map. If you have the opportunity to explore a public area that is open to you, go for it. You never know what you might see.

 

Originally published at thehousekat.com.

Posted by

Licensed Broker, CBR®

 

eXp Realty LLC

P.O. Box 10458

Kalispell, MT 59904

 

email: kat@thehousekat.com

www.thehousekat.com

 

406-270-3667 (MT)

 

facebook    Kat's Homes

 

 

Comments (38)

Lawrence "Larry" & Sheila Agranoff. Cell: 631-805-4400
The Top Team @ Charles Rutenberg Realty 255 Executive Dr, Plainview NY 11803 - Plainview, NY
Long Island Condo and Home Specialists

Altough we like our "little" hiking experiences, nothing at all compares to what you experience Kat. We have deer, butterflies, squirrels and lots of birds in our backyard, and those are the only sightings I want to experience these days. But to you...Happy Hiking!

Jul 16, 2021 06:54 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
DFW FINE PROPERTIES - Flower Mound, TX
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Kat Palmiotti - Ah! My perfect reading material! Vicariously I was on that trail with you and enjoying the sights and sounds of the forest. Too bad I didn't move there years ago! I'm not one for crowds of people and I also like to take the path less known and surely one is almost guaranteed sights of "the avian," or at the very least some magnificent trees in nature's wonderland! Glory be to sounds of silence in Glacier National Park. 

Jul 16, 2021 08:56 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Bob "RealMan" Timm - Are you too busy with other things?

 

Thank you Lawrence "Larry" & Sheila Agranoff. Cell: 631-805-4400 for your good wishes!

Jul 16, 2021 02:03 PM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP - you would have enjoyed it indeed!

Jul 16, 2021 02:03 PM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Kat, if you go hiking in our mountains, you could find remenants from a bear too.  I would turn around!  

Jul 16, 2021 03:59 PM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Joan Cox - if the bear sign had been old, I would have kept going. But it was a bit too fresh for me.

Jul 17, 2021 05:05 AM
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

We did a bit of hiking while in Alaska recently. I was happy we missed seeing bears, although our grandsons kept hoping we'd run into one. Ha. 

Jul 17, 2021 06:59 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

It's really more relaxing when there aren't bears around! haha, Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD !

Jul 17, 2021 08:18 AM
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
Fathom Realty Washington LLC - Tacoma, WA
South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker!

Hiking trails with cell phone connections are hard to find in many urban locales let alone Montana. Thank you for sharing Kat Palmiotti 

Jul 17, 2021 08:20 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS - There are pretty much even odds here that we'll have cell service while hiking. Glacier National Park doesn't have any but most other places do. Enjoy your day!

Jul 17, 2021 08:26 AM
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

It was not steaming - haha. But good enough reason to turn around!

Jul 17, 2021 11:02 PM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089 - Haha, if it was steaming I would have left the area a lot faster than I had!

Jul 18, 2021 04:49 AM
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Hello Kat, Yes once you see bear signs it is best to turn around.  If it is a mom and cubs, leave the area for sure.

 

Jul 18, 2021 06:42 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Yes, Will Hamm - I have no intention to get between a mother and her cubs!

Jul 18, 2021 08:48 AM
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
Fathom Realty Washington LLC - Tacoma, WA
South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker!

I am glad to see that you are back into hiking as it seemed to be your passion back in New York Kat Palmiotti 

Jul 18, 2021 09:32 AM
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

Good Monday morning, Kat.

Take care, be safe and have a great day.

Jul 19, 2021 07:59 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS - For some reason, I haven't been doing as much here - and there's so many places to go! I have to pick up the pace. Enjoy your day!

 

Roy Kelley - Thank you! I hope your Monday is going well also!

Jul 19, 2021 02:25 PM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Kat Palmiotti - You understand how hiking in Flathead National Forest helps to cleanse the soul.  There is nothing quite like a hike in nature to help one get in touch with your inner self. 

Jul 20, 2021 02:08 PM
Mark Don McInnes, Sandpoint
Sandpoint Realty LLC - Sandpoint, ID
North Idaho Real Estate - 208-255.6227

A hike in the wilderness/open country can go a long way towards refreshing our humbleness.  Looks like a good one Kat.  Mark

Jul 27, 2021 05:17 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

I totally agree Sheri Sperry - MCNE® !

 

I do love being outside enjoying the wilderness, Mark Don McInnes, Sandpoint - !

Jul 27, 2021 05:57 AM