Hiking the Salish Mountains – Kalispell MT
A major benefit of the Kalispell Montana area is that is surrounded by mountain ranges. Looking East, North and West you will see rows of mountain ranges. Some are rugged, majestic, rocky and snow capped. Others are more like the Salish Mountains to the west, which are mostly rounded mountains with some grassy slopes and lots of trees.
The Salish Mountains are part of the Flathead National Forest. They cover more than 4,000 square miles. There are as many as 82 named mountain peaks which range in height from ~3700 feet to nearly 7,000. There are hiking trails, climbing areas and many logging trails that criss-cross the area. A lot of exploration awaits!
So on a beautiful October day when temperatures were in the 50s, we decided to do some investigating. In the Salish mountain area, there are both national forest and lumber company lands that are accessible to the public. So we selected an area in the southwestern part of Kalispell, grabbed our backpacks, and off we went.
As we hiked up into the mountains, we were greeted by amazing vistas. The climb was definitely worth a little huffing and puffing! We could see the northern and eastern mountain ranges, which included Glacier National Park and the Swan Mountains. Rugged snow-covered peaks, overlapping peaks, and the entire Flathead Valley lay in front of us.
As you can tell from these photos, the scenery was stupendous.
Our hike itself included a lot of uphill climbing, so sturdy hiking boots were a must. If you decide to explore the area as well, remember to bring bear spray. The Flathead National Forest is home to various animals including bear, elk, deer, goat, sheep, and small animals such as gophers, chipmunks, rabbits and the like. That being said, our hike was conducted on a quiet day, animal-wise. We saw no humans, a few deer, some magpies and horse tracks in the trail but that was it. A beautiful, sunny and quiet walk. Exactly what the Montana experience is all about.
For more about hiking in Montana, click here.