Late June Trail Report

The Whitefish Trail is all about connecting our community to our local open lands. To the west, Lion Mountain connects to the 1,520 acre conservation easement in Beaver Lakes and to the north, Reservoir now connects to 3,022 acres of permanent protection in Haskill Basin. We are so lucky to have local lands in conservation and even luckier to have a world-class trail system connecting them all.

   

This week, I checked off a new bucket list item: ride from my house up the new Haskill trail, connect to Whitefish Mountain Resort and Flathead National Forest, gain the summit of Big Mountain, and come all the way back to town. It was so nice to explore the many changing environments along the way. South facing aspects with open larch trees gave way to thick northerly slopes chock full of giant cedars. Farther up in the basin, wetlands, springs, and seeps have transformed the landscape into a lush, super-green forest not found anywhere else along the Whitefish Trail. As I passed the base lodge, another 8 miles of climbing took me through the clouds all the way to the alpine.

The 3,700′ difference in elevation from the valley to the top of Big Mountain offers a diverse spectrum of vegetation and wildlife. If you have not explored the new Haskill trail, I highly recommend getting out there soon. Traveling north, the trail is 5.5 miles from Reservoir TH to the Big Mountain, climbs 1,600 feet, and also descends 600 feet. If an out an back is too ambitious or you only have a couple hours, consider shuttling, and remember the Whitefish Trail in Haskill is a multi-use trail open to dogs, hikers, bikers, horses (on Stoltze property), and runners. Bikers must yield to hikers and BOTH must yield to horseback riders. Set a good example and be an advocate for proper and respectful trail etiquette.