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Turner Mountain, Montana | 29 August 2021

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Turner Mountain in northwest Montana is approximately 22 miles north of Libby on Pipe Creek Road #567.  Turner ski area opened in 1961. It is currently active with a mile long double chairlift with 2100’ of vertical rise. The 1.8-mile vehicle access road is closed in the summer but open to mountain bikes and foot travel. I borrowed an ebike and rode to the summit via the reasonable grade ‘jeep road’.  The ride is 2.68 miles from the chair lift base to the summit, a rise of 1380’. Stops along the way were necessary to view the scenery, think ‘panting rest-stops’.

A sow with two cubs and a large lone black bear were feeding on the abundant huckleberries in the ski runs. They either didn’t see me coming or going or were undaunted by my presence. 

The ski patrol shack, a huge improvement from when I first patrolled there, provided a fine SOTA station setup complete with deck and chair.  I could only dream of operating there on skis for the winter bonus points.      

Road Hike/Bike Miles: 9 roundtrip

Elevation Gain: 2430’

Water:  None along the trail. 

Bear Spray:  Recommended for all Montana summit hikes

Camping: US Forest Service campgrounds are along the Pipe Creek Road as are dispersed camping sites.  

Map:  Kootenai National Forest, Libby Ranger District

Directions:  Travel north of Libby on Highway #37 across the Kootenai River and turn left onto the Pipe Creek Road #567.  Travel approximately 22 miles north to the signed Turner Mountain Ski Area access road.  The access road is gated except during the ski season.