Early February Trail Report

Lion Mountain February 3, 2021

If you don’t like the weather today, just wait until next week. This winter has been warm and wet compared to climate averages for NW Montana, but changes are on the horizon. With an eastern arctic front in the forecast, this weekend’s weather might seem downright cold and snowy compared to the balmy January we’ve just experienced. In fact, Kalispell had the 7th warmest January on record and the 12th lowest snowfall with only 5″ measured.

Current conditions on the Whitefish Trail are more typical of mid to late March with morning freezes and afternoon thaws. 95% of the trail is packed snow and ice, while the remaining 5% is dirt and/or rock that is starting to show on south and west exposures. Traction devices, like micro-spikes, are strongly recommended, especially for running.

Did you notice that wind a couple weeks ago? A major storm front brought high winds to the entire region and toppled trees valley-wide. Volunteers and WLP staff have been working hard and have already cleared 50+ trees from the trail corridor, while harder to reach sections of the trail may not be cleaned up until spring. If you see a tree down across the Whitefish Trail, please report it. Downed trees can create erosion issues, damage to vegetation, and widen the trail from user-built reroutes. We like to hear from you and detailed information is always helpful!

We hope everyone is out enjoying our local open lands on the Whitefish Trail, regardless of the weather. Winter isn’t over yet! As a reminder, the following trailheads are plowed regularly for winter access: Lion Mountain, Skyles, Big Mountain, Reservoir, Swift Creek, and Beaver Lakes. All other trailheads are not maintained regularly throughout the winter, so access and park at your own risk.

As you get out and explore the Whitefish Trail this winter, we’d love to see your photos and hear your trail stories!

Email info@whitefishlegacy.org