Standard Peak from McGinnis Creek Road

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Flathead National Forest

Standard Peak from McGinnis Creek Road is a 6 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Polebridge, Montana that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, bird watching, and backpacking and is best used from July until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Length6.0 miElevation gain1,955 ftRoute typeOut & back
BackpackingHikingBird watchingDog friendlyForestViewsWildflowersWildlifeRocky
Description
Waypoints (0)
Getting There

This is a 6 mile out and back trail. It starts on McGinnis Creek Road at a trailhead marked “Smoky Range Trail #270". It is located in the Flathead National Forest just a few miles north of Columbia Falls, Montana. It is moderate difficulty. Great views along the way. Wildlife, wild flowers and you can see the entire Flathead Valley from the top. Dog friendly. Will have cell reception on this trail.

From Columbia Falls, Montana, drive north on 486 (Northfork Road). Approximately 1 mile after the pavement ends, turn left on McGinnis Creek Road. Follow the main road in a few miles to the trailhead.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (21)
Photos (30)
Recordings (13)
Completed (36)
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JT User
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarOctober 19, 2020

We really enjoyed the trail itself, but if there is even an inkling of inclement weather, Do Not Go. We went on this trail in mid-October. It had snowed for a couple days before, and during our hike it started to rain. We were in a four-wheel drive SUV, and despite having years of experience driving on snowy dirt roads, getting back down from that hike was an absolute nightmare. The road is rather narrow with steep drop-offs on the sides. The snow/rain combo left us sliding dangerously close to the edges as we crawled the 7+ miles back down to the main road. It completely erased what a nice hike we had. There also is not a place to park near the trail, so we highly recommend parking in the clearing and hiking the three-quarters of a mile to the trailhead.

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ben shafer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 22, 2020
Hiking

Good times. Pretty easy going. Nice views for miles. First half of ascent is pretty exposed, maybe start early if the forecast is hot and sunny.

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Dusty Trailhead
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Hiking

Good views at the top south towards Flathead Lake and west into Glacier Park. The trail is mostly in an old burn, so views to the east are unobstructed. You’re also looking at Huckleberry Mountain Lookout to the east. The view into Glacier will be much closer from there. But, that’s a “Hard” hike, and the walk to Standard Peak is very pleasant.

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Jeremiah Martin
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarAugust 3, 2020
HikingBlowdownBugsNo shadeOver grownWashed out

The road to get here is really bad, recommend a 4WD. The trail is pretty steep and kind of bland terrain. Any trail in Colorado blows this out of the water.

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Steve VanTassel
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Hiking

Hard enough to make you feel like you worked for it but still manageable for our group of four infrequent hikers. All felt it was a terrific hike. Hiked in late July and the wildflowers were spectacular.

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Matt Comfort
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HikingBlowdownNo shadeOver grown

This trail is a hidden gem, if you can find it. so i will provide detailed instructions! First off, download the map of this trail on All Trails because that's actually how I was able to find the trailhead. head north on North Fork Road. hang a left on McGinnis Creek Road (NF-803). This road is completely unpaved but has been excellently maintained and is relatively smooth even for regular vehicles. according to my measurements on Google maps. the trailhead will be directly to your left at the 7.6 mile mark. There is a sign, but it is off the road and facing the opposite direction from which you will probably be arriving! we missed it and had to turn back. only on the return pass did we see the trailhead. it is a small switch back that begins directly off the shoulder of the road. there are no designated parking areas. only a few widened parts of the road here and there within a few hundred feet of the trail. we hiked on a Saturday morning and there were zero other vehicles nearby. do not rely on noticing others parked nearby to find the trailhead. hope this helps! As for the hike itself, its a beautiful 3 mile steady uphill. there are almost no flat parts, and the steepest parts are the first quarter mile and the last quarter mile to the summit. that final climb is a grinder. plenty of beautiful views on the way, especially heading up a very mildly exposed ridge with some large rock cairns to mark the way (don't worry, you won't get lost) at the top you'll have panoramic views of the west side of Glacier, views down the Hungry Horse Reservoir, views all the way down to Flathead Lake (im convinced on an especially clear day you could see the south end of the lake) and of course the Whitefish Range backcountry. The trail is pretty narrow but well defined. somewhat overgrown in spots due to a lack of traffic. we encountered a decent amount of blowdowns which we had to duck under or climb over. Again, there is little foot traffic so make sure you have your bear spray and make some noise through the thick brushy areas.

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Amanda N
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 18, 2020
HikingBlowdownBugsOver grown
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Amanda N
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HikingBlowdownBugsOver grown
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Allie C
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 11, 2020
HikingBugs

Great trail. Getting to the trailhead, McGinnis Creek Road is very scenic and paved well. Once on the trail, definitely a solid incline to the top but the views are worth it. Lots of wildflowers along the way, a few tree trunks to step over / under. Saw about 10 ish other hikers in total (we started around noon). Overall would really recommended this for a good, sweaty 6-mile hike with beautiful views that is an easy drive from Columbia Falls!

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Jessie Gordon
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HikingBugs

Decent trail if you are looking for seclusion and want to crush some miles. Beautiful panoramic views of the Whitefish range once you hit the ridge line but pretty boring on the way up. Saw some bear signs and got attacked by the skeeters but not overwhelming if you keep moving. Not sure I’d go out of my way to tackle this trail but not a bad way to kick off the day if you happen to be camping on McGinnis Creek or in the area.

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Jessica Nymark
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 25, 2020
HikingBlowdownBugsNo shade

The road is not closed until July 1 like previous reviewer says. We completed on June 23 and road was all the way open. This was a great little trail! Definitely not nearly as steep as some USFS trails, but definitely a lot of trees down. First mile and a half climbs up the side of a mountain where it then levels off and you have a long, enjoyable ridge walk. Lots of wildflowers, some rocky terrain, and one more steeper push to the summit. Really stunning views of the whole valley from Great Northern, Saint Nick, Hungry Horse and the whole Flathead. Really loved this one! Side notes: completed on June 23 and still some small but very manageable snow patches near the summit. Also, saw mountain lion and bear scat so have bear spray!!

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Jack Sealy
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 30, 2018
Hiking
First to Review

I really like this trail. The views along the way are nice and become amazing from Standard Peak. You can see the entire Flathead Valley from the top. The road to access this trail is seasonal. There is a gate on McGinnis Creek Road that is closed until July 1st. I think it stays open until possibly some time in September. There are a few places along the trail that are under the cover of trees, but it is mostly open so wear sunscreen.

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Sierra Kress
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Hiking
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Jeremy Waterkotte
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Hiking
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Jay Perry
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Hiking
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Brian Elkins
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Hiking
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Mario Almendarez
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Hiking
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Kiernan Sellars
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Hiking
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