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Montana - Lake Mountain 3Jul2017

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This old US Forest Service Lookout has good trail access from the trailhead on the North Fork of the Blackfoot River.  The trailhead is a popular access point into the Scapegoat and Bob Marshall Wilderness Areas for kayakers in the spring, fly fishers, backpackers, stock users and fall season hunters.  The summit has spectacular views of much of the Scapegoat Wilderness and high summits within the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area.


Trail Miles:  4.5 one way

Elevation Gain:  3700’

Water:  No water is available along the trail.

Bear Spray:  Recommended

Camping:  Primitive campground, stock unloading facility is at the trailhead.  Water is occasionally available or filter the water from the river.

Snags: as with much of the Wilderness burn areas be alert for falling snags especially on windy days.     

Map:  Lolo National Forest, Seeley Lake Ranger District or the Scapegoat/Bob Marshall Wilderness Areas 

You’ll be only on the mainline Hobnail Tom trail for 0.75 mile then after a short 600’ bushwhack you’ll be on a not often travelled trail to Lake Mountain.  The Lake Mountain trail is a good but climbing trail used primarily by wildlife and fall season hunters.  Much of the area burned over in the 1988 Canyon Creek Fire so much of the upper area is exposed hiking. 

On the summit, very little remains evident of the Lookout, but a solar powered US Forest Service Wilderness repeater and leveled heliport is on the summit.  There are a line of trees and snags for wire antennas and ample open space for other antennas.  Large snow drifts exist through July in normal snow fall years.   

Directions:  From Highway 200, approximately 6.5 miles east of Ovando MT, turn north onto the Kleinschmidt Flat Road.  The junction is signed for several destinations including the North Fork of the Blackfoot.  Continue up this road approximately 2 miles, make a right angle right turn due east for 2 miles then a right-angle left turn north following the signs for approximately 8 miles to the trailhead.      

From the trailhead take the Hobnail Tom Trail a little over ½ mile you’ll have a trail coming in from the left.  This is the main trial leading from the commercial outfitter camp.  A couple hundred feet farther a climbing ake Creek trail takes off the to the left.  Do not take that trail, but stay on the main trail.  Shortly, the main trail splits and the upper trail is signed one way.  Several feet beyond this sign begin looking for scuffed trail through the brush, climbing toward several large Douglas-fir trees at about 600’ distance.  This is your destination to intersect the Lake Mountain Trail.  Once on the Lake Mountain Trail, it is easy to follow.  However, remember this access point so you don’t miss it and add another mile onto your return.  Great views looking down steep cliffs into the North Fork Blackfoot River are at several locations up the trail