Mount Sentinel Via Hellgate Ridgeline

MODERATE 66 reviews

Mount Sentinel Via Hellgate Ridgeline is a 3.4 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Missoula, Montana that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
3.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1902 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

kid friendly

birding

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

The "M" on the west face of Mount Sentinel has been a Missoula landmark since 1908, when Forestry Club members forged a zigzag trail up the mountain and students carried up stones to shape the symbol of the University of Montana. A hike to the "M" is a favorite Missoula outing for people of all ages. After just a few minutes on the trail, you begin to get a birds'-eye view of the University of Montana. As you gain elevation, the view expands to include all of Missoula, the valley, the Clark Fork River and distant mountains. While the trail is less than a mile long, the hike can be quite strenuous, depending on how quickly you cover this distance. You'll climb a steep, zigzag path with 11 switchbacks and gain 620 feet in elevation. Many local athletes and fitness buffs run the "M" trail as a regular part of their regimen. Most people make the "M" their final destination, but you can continue to climb for about another mile on one of two routes to the top of Mount Sentinel. The view from the top of the mountain is even more exquisite. To the north, across Hellgate Canyon, you'll see Mount Jumbo and the Rattlesnake National Recreation Area and Wilderness. Look for the water lines etched into the slopes of Mount Jumbo by the waters of Glacial Lake Missoula. To the south, you can see the Bitterroot Mountains. From the top of Sentinel, you can retrace your steps to the base of the mountain or follow Crazy Canyon Trail into Pattee Canyon. Hikers and equestrians can also follow the Hellgate Canyon Trail linking Crazy Canyon Trail with the Kim Williams Trail.

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3 days ago

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23 days ago

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29 days ago

Hiked the M in late-April at the recommendation of a local. Nice little introduction to Missoula.

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1 month ago

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2 months ago

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2 months ago

Beautiful trail! Very uphill but worth the walk. Well maintained and suprisingly quiet for the amount of traffic. the entrance being on campus makes the entrance and parking situation very easy.

2 months ago

A lot of fun, easy short hike to see a Missoula landmark. Definitely worth doing, plus a great view of Missoula once you reach the top.

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2 months ago

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3 months ago

Beautiful views!

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3 months ago

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3 months ago

You owe it to yourself to do the M if you are here. Great view of the Valley and a bucket list kind of hike.