Mid-May Trail Report
Though the snow on Monday suggested otherwise, the vast majority of the Whitefish Trail is free from snow, dried out, and in great shape for all types of non-motorized recreation. The weather may continue to fluctuate over the next few weeks, but trail season is officially open! Larch needles are bursting out, Heartleaf arnica is sprouting, and even the first wildflowers of Arrowleaf balsamroot are in bloom. As you Hit the Trail this spring, here is a brief update from each section of trail with reminders about how to best plan and enjoy your outings.
Our most popular trail at Lion Mountain continues to offer excellent trail conditions for all types of users. Whether you are an all-star runner, going for an after-work bike ride, or a family looking for an easy weekend outing, the rolling trail at Lion Mountain is the perfect destination for a close-to-town adventure.
Skyles is fully dried out all the way through ‘Goguen’s Gulley’ with conditions similar to Lion Mountain. This shadier section of trail is noticeably cooler in the mornings and evenings compared to other areas. As a reminder, Skyles trailhead is limited to six vehicles, as per our agreement with private landowners and the DNRC. Help us respect this parking limit, and try another trailhead if it’s full.
Twin Bridges & South Spencer
Starting around Monday May 23, Montana DNRC will conduct a salvage timber sale at Spencer Mountain to remove downed trees from a Spring 2021 windstorm. The trails in the north half of Spencer Mountain, including all of the freeride Spencer Trails, will be closed for 30 days. The South Spencer trailhead, as well as the southern Whitefish Trail loop, will remain open during the closure. Until the logging begins, the trails are in ideal condition, so go enjoy Spencer while you can!
Swift Creek & Smith Lake
Trails at Swift Creek and Smith Lake are open and dry. This section of trail takes you from a flat and shady, creek-side experience up to views of Smith Lake and across the rolling hills to the Salish Mountains. This is a great area for trail running or for adding miles to a longer bike ride along Whitefish Lake or up towards Upper Whitefish Lake.
The trails around the Beaver Lakes area are in prime condition for all kinds of recreation. These trails offer cross country trails, lakeside views, and plenty of options for stacked loops whether you are hiking, biking, or horseback riding! If the parking lot at the Beaver Lakes trailhead looks busy, try driving out to the less crowded Woods Lake Trailhead, instead.
Reservoir & Big Mountain
Haskill is the last section of the trail system to melt out as it’s much higher in elevation, very shaded in spots, and is packed down from winter use. There are still large sections of snow between the Big Mountain trailhead and the spur trail to Haskill Lake. Please take care when traveling on snowy or muddy sections of trail.
If you haven’t been yet, the upper loop at Holbrook is free of snow and ready for you to explore. The trail is ideal for short outings with the family as there are excellent views from the Overlook and several options to go for a longer or shorter hike. Over the coming months, we will also be completing construction of the lower loop and trailhead. The newest destination on the Whitefish Trail is something to look forward to this Summer!
The Lupfer trailhead is the farthest from town and is a great place for a quiet, family-friendly walk. A few shadier spots on the trail that were holding moisture have started drying out. Please be mindful when walking through muddy sections of trail to avoid damaging the tread.