Columbia Mountain Trail

hard 96 reviews
#9 of 41 trails in

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.

Distance: 11.8 miles Elevation Gain: 4,993 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dog friendly

camping

hiking

horseback riding

mountain biking

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

muddy

over grown

rocky

washed out

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.

snowshoeing
icy
snow
2 days ago

I made it up to the beginning of the last pitch before the top, but it was heavily drifted and I didn’t think the snow felt completely stable. There’s probably a safe route up right now, but I couldn’t find one (I liked) after trying a couple different lines. Awesome snowshoeing though - be safe up there!

hiking
icy
muddy
rocky
snow
17 days ago

Very icy and slick even with ice spikes on. Waterfall is half frozen! Beautiful day.

hiking
flooded
icy
snow
1 month ago

hiking
snow
2 months ago

hiking
rocky
5 months ago

Trail is easy to find and follow. Good viewpoints, of Columbia Falls on the way up. First few km are a climb, then mellow out and big climbs again getting into the switchbacks. The summit gives a decent 360 view of the surrounding area. Bring a lot of water and snacks

hiking
5 months ago

This hike has amazing views at the top and along the way as well. It is very long and we thought our feet were going to fall off by the time we got back to the car, turned out to be almost 14 miles round trip.

hiking
rocky
5 months ago

We love this trail. It is hard to get to the summit, however, there are a lot of great highlights along the trail that could be destination points. The trail is well maintained.

hiking
5 months ago

Took us over 7 hrs. Amazing would do it again for sure.

hiking
6 months ago

I didn’t do the entire trail (6 miles) but it’s gorgeous and a steady climb up. Saw a few small creeks and a waterfall. I would say it’s moderate, maybe the hard part is further in. It’s also mostly shaded and has a wide trail.

8 months ago

Awesome chalenging trail, going for my third time. if you go to the top plan for a full day hike, food and water.

hiking
9 months ago

Lets say the journey is better than the destination. The water fall is more like a creek the gently rolls down a hill. The over views along the way make it all worth it though. No snow or mud.

9 months ago

A long hike with great view point.

hiking
rocky
snow
9 months ago

hiking
10 months ago

lots of ticks so be careful. I made it to the crazy switchbacks at the end. But, what I did hike wasn't that bad. Not much snow left on the lower part of the trail, no need to bring snow shoes. In the switchbacks it is still filled with snow. I couldn't finish the upper part of the trail due to the snow. There aren't a ton of views but what v you can see is pretty cool.

hiking
10 months ago

Highly recommend this trail. Great spring hike if you have some gators or snow shoes. And fall and summer haven’t experienced yet but will be in the future!

hiking
Sat Jan 12 2019

Decided to make an attempt to try this trail since I did not get to do it in the summer. Knew the trail would be icy, but had just purchased some Yaktrac’s, plus the trail had just got four inches of snow on it. Followed one set of tracks in, and not long into the trip, met a young woman coming back down. Trail was steep, but snow helped with traction. Finally got to where the hiker before me turned around and thought, I can’t resist going a little further and break the fresh snow. Glad I did, got to a beautiful view point. Believe I was only two miles into the hike, so it is back on my list for completion. Any day in nature is a good day, so I enjoyed the part I did do.

hiking
Sat Jan 05 2019

January hike. Very, very icy. We had yaktrax on and had a hard time in places. Good views. Well traveled; saw 4 other groups in 3 hours of hiking. Would be great snowshoe if there was a lot of snow.

hiking
Sat Dec 22 2018

Pretty cool trail! Somewhat strenuous. Great views of the valley to be had here.

running
Sat Sep 15 2018

Excellent trail. It’s really just a moderate trail, with a little more distance. Overall the elevation gain is nothing compared to a hard trail. This is a definite people pleaser! P.S. there is immense trail damage from dirt bikers so I’m wondering if there’s any local dirt biker coalition that would be happy to do some trail maintenance. I’m willing to help out if they come to terms with the trace they leave.

Wed Aug 22 2018

This was challenging for sure, but we hadn’t really prepared for it and do not normally hike in mountainous terrain. Views were OK and the trail was in good condition all the way up.

hiking
Fri Jul 20 2018

Holy moly, this trail is a workout! We hiked to the top, aka when you see the sign for Alpine Trail #7. You can keep going on that trail if you wish, all the way to Jewel Basin. If you want a shorter hike, you can hike to the waterfalls that are approximately 2.2 miles from the trail head. Once you cross the logs, you have to hike up the hill to the left to get all the way to the waterfalls. The top has some of the most amazing views of the valley and of GNP. Bring bear spray for sure and know that this trail is not very populated. Lots of bugs too. Great, challenging hike!

Sat Jun 16 2018

Is there parking at the trailhead?

Wed May 30 2018

you gain a lot of elevation... then drop low again. For a backcountry skiier its always a loss when u lose elevation and have to climb and gain it back. but the veiws of the valley are hard to beat!

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