OverviewWebster's Dictionary defines a "cyclone" as: 1:a storm or system of winds that rotates about a center of low atmospheric pressure and advances at 20 to 30 miles an hour 2: tornado
Cyclones, tornadoes or whatever you want to call them are extremely rare in Montana, so I have no idea why this peak is named such, but it does make for an enjoyable hike. Cyclone Peak is located in the Whitefish Range adjacent to the western flank of Glacier National Park. Combine the two and you have thousands of square miles of unspoiled wilderness to explore.
Cyclone Peak is home to a fire lookout tower that is still being utilized by the forest service during the summer months. The life of a fire watcher provides a brief glimpse into the daily routine of fire tower personnel. I encourage you to read the article and to also click on the photo links in the article. You might be surprised at how well these folks get by while isolated at the top of a mountain!
Getting ThereTo find Cyclone Peak drive to Columbia Falls and turn north on Nucleus Avenue. Follow Nucleus until it dead-ends. Turn right on the "infamous" North Fork Road and follow it for approximately 32 miles. The un-paved sections of the North Fork Road are infamous for the "washboard effect" that will beat your kidneys into oblivion!!!
Turn left at the Hay Creek turn-off and follow the signs to Cyclone Peak for approximately 3 1/2 miles. This forest service road is actually in better shape than the North Fork Road so a two-wheel drive vehicle will work just fine. The trail head will be located on the left.
Beginning as a road the trail soon narrows and begins a gentle climb through the evergreen forest of larch and fir. It is a relatively easy, approximately 2 1/2 mile jaunt to the summit with an approximate 1000 foot elevation gain. This is a great hike to do while waiting for snowmelt in Glacier National Park's higher elevations. If hiked later in the summer, such as August, huckleberries crowd the trail in many areas. If you are a berry picker, please don't strip the bushes....leave some for the bears as this is a vital food source for them.
On a clear day you will get jaw-dropping views into the Northfork area of Glacier National Park including Bowman Lake and Rainbow Peak, among many others.
Red TapeLocated just 4 miles south (as the crow flies) of famous Polebridge, Cyclone Peak is in the Flathead National Forest which is grizzly bear country. Hike smart....make plenty of noise at regular intervals along the trail AND carry bear spray.
CampingThere are several campgrounds in the general area, however, none of them are particularly close to the mountain. Located in Glacier National Park, Quartz Creek is the closest as the crow flies, but logistical barriers like the North Fork of the Flathead River pose a problem.
Upper Whitefish Lake, Moose Lake, and Red Meadow Lake are all located in the Whitefish Range and are easier to access.