Sperry Chalet Trail is a 12.5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Essex, MT that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from March until November. Horses are also able to use this trail.
Glacier Park Inc. P.O. Box 2025, Columbia Falls, Montana 59912 406-8922525
Climbed to the top to camp at sperry campground. We then hiked 16 miles to the gun sight trailhead. We went over two passes, both had snow and ice. Very beautiful views.
A lot of work but worth it!
I am in excellent physical shape and did this trail out and back the same day. The trail is indeed challenging but rewarding with the stunning views from the top. Even in June there was quite a bit of snow up top, making the last 0.2 miles of the trail slippery and difficult to see. One of the best hikes from lake McDonald.
Fantastic hike and camping. My girlfriend and I did this as our last backpacking trip of the season (late October), and spent a total of 3 days, 2 nights on the trip. By this time in the year there was no horse traffic, however with less traffic comes more activity from bears and other predators so make lots of noise if you go late in the season. (We saw a fresh, large cat print in the newly fallen snow on our way out).
The trail itself is taxing. The switchbacks seem unending for the last few miles, but once you get to the chalet, you're well rewarded with views. The view of Lake McDonald is spectacular. Although sperry lake is right next to the campground, we chose to get our water from the running stream the trail crosses north of the chalets.
All in all, one of my favorite hikes in a while. We planned on making the extra push to Lake Ellen Wilson, but decided to stay at Sperry because we were exhausted and had already fallen in love with the view.
As a final point, the mountain goats in the area in late autumn are very comfortable around humans. Although it's fun to have the goats get close to you, there are a few things to think about when you're planning your trip. For one, they love the salt from your sweat or urine. They tried to eat the strap on my trekking pole as we were setting up the tent, and they will follow you and watch you while you pee (however this can be avoided by using the camp toilet south of the campsites). Also, if you are a light sleeper, I would bring ear plugs. The goats tend to circle your tent at night which makes a lot of noise. Finally, although their friendliness is fun and makes for great pictures, it's easy to forget they're wild animals. My girlfriend felt very uncomfortable when one got slightly aggressive around her, so make sure you're not getting too comfortable and complacent.
Wonderful backcountry experience
Great hike. But you should be in moderately good physical condition to complete the hike. My wife and I stayed at the chalet for 3 days. It was well worth the hike.
As mentioned it is a horse trail so start early and you won't have to deal with the fresh droppings. Day old doesn't smell as bad ; )
Once your up at the top you have plenty of day hiking to do and the view is incredible with Sperry Glacier and Lake Ellen Wilson.
Absolutely beautiful area. But if you want to see Sperry glacier you better go soon it's melting fast. Current prediction at the current rate of regression 2 years. But just remember "there is no global warming", '' / ''
I have to confess, I didn't actually hike this trail, I did it on horseback. And am I GLAD! My wife and I rode this with a guide on Sept. 21, 2014. It is a very steep and long trail to Sperry Chalet with 3300 ft of elevation gain. The trail is mostly through wooded areas, but occasionally you do break out into the open and hike along fairly exposed trail for short distances. All in all, a beautiful hike/ride. There were 2 mountain goats at the top when we got to the chalet. It was already closed for the season. Glad we packed a lunch. The views from up top are amazing.
My husband and I aren't super-hikers, but we've done about 40-50 trails in the past few years and this trail was the most difficult one we've done. It's about a 25% grade incline for a good 2 miles at the beginning of the trail. Your legs will feel the burn! Due to utter exhaustion we only made it just over 3 miles into the hike (about halfway up) before we turned back. We were a bit disappointed that we hadn't encountered the lake by that point, and there were only one or two partial scenic views during that 3 mile duration. It's a horse-trail as well, so we were constantly negotiating horse droppings the entire way and the smell hit you every once in a while.
It was a fun hike, we really enjoyed it. Beautiful forest hike. I only wish there was more to see (views, lake, waterfall) along the first half of the trail. And of course I could've done without the horse dung! Bring your hiking poles, they will help with the climb and the decent.
took the Sperry Trail over to Gunsight Pass and onto the Going to the Sun road. (point to point) 19miles+ or- First time i have seen a Grizzly on the trail. It walked right passed us. Of course we LET him have the trail. haa Great hike!!!!