Columbia Mountain Trail is a 11.8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Hungry Horse, Montana that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, horses, and mountain biking and is best used from July until October. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.

Length11.8 miElevation gain4,993 ftRoute typeOut & back
CampingHikingHorseback ridingMountain bikingDog friendlyForestLakeRiverViewsWaterfallwild-flowersWildlifeBugsMuddyOver grownRockyWashed out
Description
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Getting There

Columbia Mountain Trail leads up to the beginning of the Alpine #7 trail system, joining the ridge line pack trail near the summit of Columbia Mountain. This trail and the Alpine trail offer stunning over looks of the Flathead Valley from various vantage points along the northern portion of the Swan Mountain range. The Alpine trail continues south, crossing the ridge multiple times; it passes west of Doris Mtn (7437ft), east of Blaine Mtn (7207ft), over Hash Mtn (7063ft), over Strawberry Mtn (6264ft), east of or over Mt Aeneas (7530ft), east of Crater Mtn (6787ft), far west of Big Hawk Mtn (7542ft), west of Tom Tom Mtn (7070), and ending south of Tom Tom Mtn at the intersection of the Peterson Trail 293 and Trail #72. Prominent lakes along the trail include Lamoose, Strawberry, Wildcat, Birch, Squaw, and Crater, with many other lakes only a short hike off the trail. A large stretch of the trail runs trough the west of the Jewel Basin hiking area offering multiple options of camping, fishing and alternative routes. There are sparse camping options south of Big Hawk Mtn after the trail exits the Jewel.

None

The trail starts south of Columbia Mountain off the Columbia Mtn trail #51. Trail head -drive 3.5 miles East of Columbia Falls on U.S. Highway 2turn right off US 2 on an unmarked dirt road just past the House of Mystery for 0.2 mile. The trail head is on your left. Other ways to get there: -Off the Strawberry Creek Trail that joins it about half way (just north of the Jewel Basin) -From the Camp Misery Trail Head in Jewel Basin -Off the Peterson Creek Trail at the south end of the trail

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Reviews (173)
Photos (118)
Recordings (136)
Completed (302)
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Matt Winnett
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Hiking

good trail with not too much snow, but definitely wear some winter boots!

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Link Neimark
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarNovember 27, 2020
Hiking

Nice trail especially for dogs it has water along the way. At least the time of year that we went. Lovely views

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Tammy Denmark
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Hiking
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Siri Gossman
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Hiking
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Aimee McNally
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Hiking

Pretty nice trail. You can hear the main road in the distance and there are city views. There were trail runners and dogs - seemed like a popular place for locals. Lots of switchbacks and good incline. Very dry in October, not many flowers or interesting things to see on the trail, except there is one weeping wall with beautiful red and green rocks and moss. We hiked only 2 miles out/back.

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Christopher Dwyer
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Hiking

Great place to watch a sunset and make out whatever the skill level of hiking (or making out). There are terrific views early and often. It’s steep. It’s technical. Who gives a dang?! I sometimes love a hike that actually has the noice of commotion (trains, highway) below. It has views of nature and views of civilization all mixed together which I appreciate sometimes. The dogs loved lapping up water from the frequent falls. A great option outside of the automakers park.

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Annie Wallace
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Hiking

Beautiful, colorful, steep, perfect.

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Tammy Denmark
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Hiking
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Jamie Brandon
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Hiking
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Joe Kleiber
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Hiking
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andrew grek
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CampingBugs

Good hike, nice workout on the steep grades. great views from the top. I camped near the peak and descended in the morning

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Tammy Denmark
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Hiking
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MIROSLAV MRAVCAK
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HikingGreat!

me and my wife did it August 21.2020 perfect weather, perfect exercise .it took us 3 hours up and 1,5 down.my watch showed 13 miles exactly.

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Britteny Jones
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Hiking
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Tyler Loy
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Hiking

Steep incline but beautiful scenery. You need to make it a bit higher to drown out train/highway noise but a great out and back outside Glacier for “active recovery” .

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glenn zior
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Hiking

Trail is in decent shape. I think most of the unevenness on the trail is from normal erosion rather then the motocross bikes. 3 bikes did pass me and were respectful when they passed. I would recommend poles for the downhill as the top has a lot of loose gravel and small rocks. I did get bitten a bunch of times so bring the bug repellent. Great views at the top.

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Taylor Jaime
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Hiking

The 5,000 foot elevation gain shouldn’t be taken lightly! This is a seriously tough hike. Most of the trail is washed out/ rutted from dirt bikes which makes it difficult to establish a good pace and you’re forced to walk like a penguin a majority of the time. Most of the climb is a STEEP grade which makes this feel like a 2-3 hour stair climber session at the gym. I’m serious. Your legs are gonna hate you. I’m in good shape (I run everyday) but I underestimated the leg workout on this one big time. Views of Hungry Horse Reservoir and of Flathead Valley are nice, but I won’t be doing this one again anytime soon.

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Erik Solveson
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HikingBugsGreat!

Very fun hike, moist at the bottom and very little shade at the top so sunscreen and bug spray are handy. Took us around 7.5 hours to do it with about 1.33 hours of breaks and snack eating at the top.

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Casey Evans
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HikingBugsRocky

Overall a great trail. A fair amount of shade, waterfalls, vistas with awesome views of the Flathead valley, and it is fairly well traveled. There were lots of mosquitos, like seriously, so bring bug spray. The trail was in fair to good condition overall, the dirt bike ruts were okay going up but annoying on the way down, it was also fairly rocky, not a lot of shale, so it wasn’t that bad. It’s a solid climb, 4,700 feet over 6 miles to the summit. I would recommend it if you are looking for a challenging day hike.

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Kevin Donahue
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Hiking

Great hike with the exception of the 8 motor cross bikes we encountered. Loud, obnoxious, and oh so annoying. Not to mention the damage to the trail. There apparently is no concern for the damage these bikes do and they apparently own the trail so everyone move over. They wonder why people go negative on allowing motorized bikes. Very disappointing....I’m now an advocate for keeping these bikes off hiking trails.

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Rudy Miller
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Nice trail close to Columbia Falls and Hungry Horse.

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Athena Kemske
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Hiking

Good trail. Per my Apple Watch it is almost 13 miles out and back. Trail is in good shape, it is challenging though!! Very tough!! The views at the top are amazing!!

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Fiona Jensen-Hitch
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Hiking

Hiked to the summit on 6/14/20 (had a lovely chat with Tammy below!) Hiked through a huge variety of weather - sun, rain, snow/rain, wind - but it was fantastic! Some snow drifts near the top but totally traversable in just hiking boots. First time hiking this and would definitely do it again. It’ll tire you out but the trail has nice long switchbacks so it’s never too steep. My dog also hiked with us. Didn’t see too many people until our way back down closer to the trailhead.

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Tammy Denmark
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Hiking

hiked to top 6/14. so gorgeous! we hiked through sleet, hail, rain, sun...it was great! few patches of snow at top, did it in sneakers no problem, but glad I had a pole to help.

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Beck B
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Hiking

Hiked all the way to the summit Mon 6/1/20, still some snow near the top, could have used a pole or two for navigating that part, but found a stick that did the trick. Beautiful shaded trail and views at the top did not disappoint!

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izy lyon
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 25, 2020
Hiking

As of 5/24, there were a few snowpacks to climb over in the last couple of miles but the trail is covered in several feet of snow starting around 6800ft. Snowshoes aren’t necessary but you will inevitably posthole a few times getting up and down that final section.

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Jocelyne Kleinsmith
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HikingSnow

My friend and I summited this hike about 6 days ago, and loved the journey! The first 5ish miles were dry and warm...drank lots of water. The last mile was a snowy adventure up, but made it wearing tennis shoes amidst lots of sinking through the snow. The panorama view at the top was incredible. Going down consisted of some sliding, but we ended with happy hearts and sore bodies. *There are only mile markers up to mile 3, so don't continue looking.

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Iceclimber 19
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 12, 2020
Hiking

I went to summit. Well a few feet shy. Lots of snow (maybe still 2-2.5’ in some areas) and it was socked in with mist and low cloud cover. GreaT day for it though.

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