Montana Outdoors

July 6, 2007

Mount Baldy: the trail

For those who like trails…

Baldy Mountains roadless area is not very big in terms of horizontal area. It totals only 6,482 acres, or 10 square miles and if it were square it would be about 3.2 miles by 3.2 miles. It is a simple thing to walk 3 miles, that is, if it’s flat.

There is a fairly good pack trail (Forest Service trail 340) running through it roughly east and west, and if a crow were to fly over it, he would only have to fly about 2.5 miles. However, if the crow had to get down and walk it would be much, much farther, and I suspect that the crow would become very weary before it reached the far side. The area is anything but flat.

The west end of trail 340 begins at the end of FS road 886 at about 6,000 feet and continues winding east up and over the top of Mount Baldy (7,464 feet) then down to Baldy Lake, up again from there and then winds along until it reaches another FS road which runs along the edge of the Flathead Indian Reservation. If it were straightened out, just the trail to the top would be about 3 miles. It was originally developed in the early 1900’s for pack strings to carry the material to build a lookout atop the peak, and thereafter to keep it supplied.

At the lower elevations, it’s a very nice trail composed of dirt and rock. (This was on Monday. Tuesday, it was completely different.)

Mout Baldy trail

Once the trail ascends above the forest it becomes quite another trail: after all, this is what it has to ascend:

Mount Baldy

If anyone likes a very, very rocky trail, here’s one:

Mount Baldy trail

Mount Baldy trail

But at the same time, the views become spectacular. The peak is 5,000 feet above the valley, and it is the tallest peak for roughly 30 miles in any direction, making available a 360ยบ view.

This is the base of an old lookout at the very top.

Mount Baldy, the very top

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