OverviewDavis Mountain is located in the central portion of NW Montana's Salish Mountains. By taking the route featured on this page Davis is an easy summit to reach and certainly has some interesting features from it's past still lingering on the summit. Davis is another Salish mountain that housed a lookout. The present 60' steel tower with 7X7 cab and ladder access(not), along with the accompanying log cabin, were built about 1931, and have been abandoned for years.
Getting ThereDrive 35.6 miles north on Hwy 93 from downtown Whitefish. Turn left at the "Trego" sign just past Dickey Lake. Drive 2.9 miles through "downtown Trego" and then turn left on #36 (Fortine Creek Rd). Drive 14.6 miles south on #36 to FS Rd #3531. (#3531 parallels #36 to the west and actually has two intersections with #36-bypass the first and drive to the second.)#36 is paved but after about 9 miles it becomes a single-lane road with pullouts. Turn right, then drive .46 miles to FS Road #3532. Turn left on #3532 and travel 4.09 miles up the mountain to where #3532-G goes off to the right and park.
As you bushwhack up towards the ridge-top aim for a tree with a small white sign on it. This area on the ridge is good to bushwhack through as it transitions from small, young pines on the left to old-growth forest with deadfall on the right. The objective is to head up where the two join...thus avoiding most of the dense young trees and most of the deadfall.
Your goal in reaching the ridge-top is to intersect Trail #212 coming in from the north. Trail #212 originates just to the south of Swamp Mountain. After bushwhacking up to and onto the wide, tree-covered ridge-top for .93 miles and gaining 562' you will find Trail #212. Take a left (south) on to the well-maintained and cairned trail and continue on it for 1 mile to the summit gaining an additional 155'.
|Terrain||One-Way Mileage||Elevation Gain|
|FS Road||.25||58'||Bushwhack||.93||562'||Trail 212||1.00||155'||Total||2.18||775'|
The Summit AreaViews from the actual summit are blocked by trees in almost every direction. Before walking to the cabin there is a clearing through the trees with extensive views south into the Salish Mountains. Your views would be much improved if you could climb the tower but the ladder has been sawed off about 12' feet off the ground.
Camping and RedTapeDavis Mountain 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. Although we did not see any bear sign specifically on Davis Mountain, the Salish Mountains are chock full of healthy-sized black bears and the occasional grizzly.
A map of the Kootenai National Forest is also very helpful in negotiating the many FS Roads in the Salish Mountains. Bug repellent is an absolute necessity in Montana in June! Water is available before you start the hike, as you pass Davis Creek on #3532, pictured below, on the way up the mountain. Use a filter!
The closest official campground is North Dickey Lake.
Trip OptionsThere are several ways to get to Davis Mountain. Obviously, the route we took is one and the shortest. We actually were looking for the TH for Trail #305, which supposedly had been cleared by the KNF. This was our second attempt to find this TH...never found it, so out of frustration, we improvised and came up with the route that we took. This is also a good way to go when you have a brief window, as we did that day, due to weather.
Option 2 is Trail #212. This trail originates at the end of FS Road #7156 just south of Swamp Mountain. It would be very possible to combine Davis Mountain with Swamp Mountain. I believe this trail to be approximately 4 miles long (one-way). We hiked about half of this trail in May 2011 but had to turn around after post-holing in thigh-deep snow.
Option 3 is Trail #279 which approaches from the southwest. Have been to the TH but did not hike any portion of this trail, which I believe to be approximately 2 miles long (one-way). To get to this TH, drive 17.2 miles on #36, then turn right on FS Road #835. Drive 3.56 miles on #835 to #4424. Turn right on #4424 and drive 2.9 miles to the TH on the right side of the road. You can also access Warland Peak to the west via this trail...on the left side of the road.