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Black Butte

Black Butte

Black Butte

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Montana, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 48.86472°N / 115.12389°W

Object Title: Black Butte

County: Lincoln

Activities: Hiking

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Elevation: 4064 ft / 1239 m


Page By: rebelgrizz

Created/Edited: Apr 28, 2012 / Apr 28, 2012

Object ID: 787647

Hits: 1865 

Page Score: 83.1%  - 16 Votes 

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Black Butte is located in NW Montana's Salish Mountains approximately 3 miles southwest of Eureka, Montana. Eureka is the last town in Montana before hitting the Canadian border. Black Butte sports a lookout at the summit and is also host to an electronic site.

Views of the Salish Mountains to the south and the Whitefish Range to the east were fantastic. Montana's Purcells rising to the west above Lake Koocanusa were inspiring as were the views of Lake Koocanusa to the north along with the Canadian Rockies.

Initially used as a patrol point in the 1920's, the first tower built was a 35' pole L-4 in 1939. In 1973, an 8x8' cab was installed atop the radar installation, with no living quarters. The present 45' all-steel live-in tower was constructed in 1983 and is staffed every summer.

Getting There

Black Butte
Black Butte
Closed gate and parking area
From downtown Whitefish drive north on Hwy 93 for 51 miles to just south of Eureka, Montana. Turn left on Tobacco Road just before entering town. Drive for .7 miles and then turn right on Othorp Lake Road (854). Drive for 5 miles until Pinkham Road comes in from the right in a big sweeping curve. Bear right here and drive for 1.1 miles until reaching your destination, Forest Service Road #7185 on the right. Almost immediately after turning right there is room to pull off to the left and park. Park here and your hike will be just a tad over 3 miles one way, or you can drive up 7185 for 1.46 miles and park at the closed gate.

Route Information

Black Butte
First good view of lookout
Black Butte
Portion of summit area
This is a straightforward hike up Forest Service Road #7185 for 3.02 miles if you start at the bottom. If you start at this point, please stay on the road as both sides of it are lined with private property and there are many, many "No Trespassing Signs". It is like this almost all the way to the closed gate. Once you reach the summit there are great views from the tower. We climbed the steps all the way to just below the deck where we encountered the typical locked door. This lookout is staffed in the summer. There is also a nice picnic area and updated RR facilities.

TerrainOne-Way MileageElevation Gain
FS Road 71853.02860'

Summit Views

Camping and RedTape

Black Butte is located in the Kootenai National Forest which is bear country. Don't hike alone, make noise as you hike, and carry bear spray and know how to use it. We saw no bear sign on Black Butte, but the Salish Mountains are chock full of healthy-sized black bears and the occasional grizzly.

Bear Stuff

There is no water available on this hike. A map of the Kootenai National Forest and the Rexford/Fortine Ranger District is helpful in negotiating the many Forest Service Roads. Bug repellent is an absolute necessity in Montana in June, July and August, not so much in April.

The closest campground is at Camp 32.


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