Great Northern is a 8 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Kalispell, Montana. The trail is only recommended for very experienced adventurers and primarily used for hiking.
The first 1.2 miles is pretty horrible, with almost a straight uphill through the trees, and no break in gradient. The vertical elevation gain is 2200' in this section. After that, the trail, and the views open up and it is a five star hike from then on with the trail having glacier views, and views in all directions including into Glacier National Park and the Jewel Basin. Hiking poles are definitely recommended, especially for the last 1.2 mile downhill section or you will most likely slip a few times.
There are a few ways to the top but I recommend the social trail just west of the creek. This route requires no scrambling and is not technical at all. The trail is easy to follow and is well defined, however it is steep with virtually no switch-backs. Definitely a hike you want to start early and not attempt if there is forecast of bad weather. Bring water; there is some available but it takes a adventurous side trip to get to. I have taken my dog to top but would not recommend unless your dog is experienced and you bring enough water to share. The view from the top is amazing and is well worth the climb. Take you time hiking down as it wears more than the climb up.
Definitely a brutal hike but so worth that view! It's very steep the first few miles. Start early and bring LOTS of water!
Very steep, few if any switchbacks. Coming down may be the worst bit. Had to have an operation on my knee thanks to this hike.
Not for the faint of heart, or the out of shape. A few scrambles around two chimmineys up top, and the first mile is a BRUTAL up hill push... its even worse on the way down with worn out knees and tired feet.
The views from the top are outstanding, and I make the hike every year. Start early, and bring lots of water, none availiable except at the trailhead.
The season is short on this climb, just watch the mountain from the reservoir to see when the snow is melted all the way to the top ridgeline. The trial is not always visible above the tree line.
We found huge heard of very photogenic Mtn Goats up top!
Extremely steep. Not for the timid. Trail not marked. Views and elevation as reward.