Mid-January Trail Report

Winter has finally taken hold of our local trail system. The farthest reaches of the Whitefish Trail can now only be accessed by the most adventurous snow enthusiasts. Access to Beaver Lake, Woods Lake, Dollar Lake, and Little Beaver Lake (all surely frozen) would require cross country skis, snowshoes, or snowmobiles, as the access roads are not plowed. Most of the Whitefish Trail at Spencer Mountain is buried under feet of snow and Lupfer has probably only seen a handful of motivated users this winter. If you want to get out on a short walk on the Whitefish Trail during the winter, the five trailheads below are plowed and have a plethora of opportunities. Send us your trail reports and let us know about current conditions!

Lion Mountain (parking for 15-20 cars)- Being the busiest trailhead has an upside during the winter: the trail stays packed all the way to the Skyles Overlook. Immediately following or during a big storm, you might want to take snowshoes, but for 95% of the winter, only micro-spikes are recommended. If it has not snowed in a few days, you can probably get away with no traction devices at all, especially if only navigating the ADA family loop.

Skyles Connection (parking for 6 cars)- This trailhead is a great option for those who want to get away from Lion Mountain but still want to stay close to town. The parking lot is plowed throughout winter. This trail sees less use, so prepare for less packed trails, especially the farther you explore from the parking lot.

Beaver Lake (parking for 10-15 cars)- Beaver Lake area offers seclusion and serenity. This trailhead is a jumping off point for longer winter excursions. The South Beaver Loop (~4 miles) generally stays packed for most of the winter except following big snow storms. Last week, a group of fat bikers enjoyed perfect riding conditions on this great stretch of trail.

Swift Creek (parking for 20 cars)- Swift Creek is a great spot to explore when you want to get out of town but don’t want to drive all the way to Glacier. The Swift Creek Overlook is a great destination with views of the Whitefish Range above and frozen river below. It’s just 1/2 mile from the trailhead. This parking lot is shared with snowmobilers accessing Lower Whitefish Road.

Twin Bridges (parking for 8-10 cars)- Currently closed during the week from Monday-Friday due to logging operations, the Twin Bridges trailhead accesses trails to North Spencer Mountain. It’s a great spot to take the dog for a walk during the weekend. If you have the gumption to make it to one of the many overlooks, you will be handsomely rewarded with expanding views of the Stillwater Valley. The South Spencer trailhead is occasionally plowed by a generous neighbor.