OverviewI like hiking to lookouts, because the views are usually outstanding, otherwise, there wouldn't be a lookout there to begin with. Holland is certainly no exception to that rule, in fact, and has probably some of the best, if not the best, overall views from any lookout we've ever been to. But, you have to WORK for these views.
As you switchback up the west side of the mountain you begin to earn peek-a-boo views of the Mission Range, which I had erroneously assumed would allow the best views from the summit. Reaching a low saddle, just below the lookout, the first views to the east, of the Bob Marshall Wilderness, wallop you upside your head!! Reeling from those views, if you're able to stagger upward the remaining few feet to the highpoint just above the lookout, you'll be visually slammed by the smorgasbord of peaks to the north and south along the Swan Range. This really is a special place!
Established with a camp in 1921, this 14x14' stone & shake cabin, built in 1931, was abandoned in 1953 and is still there. Surprisingly, the roof still seemed to be in pretty good shape.
Getting ThereFrom downtown Whitefish drive south on Hwy 93 for 16 miles to downtown Kalispell. Continue through Kalispell on Hwy 93 south for an additional 8.43 miles to Hwy 82. Turn left or east and drive for 6.87 miles to Hwy 35. Turn right on Hwy 35 and drive south for .4 miles to Hwy 83. Turn left on Hwy 83 and drive south for 86.4 miles to the Holland Lake Road. Turn left and drive 3.9 miles to the large day-use parking area on the north side of the lake.
Several trails with several junctions take you the 4000' feet required to reach the lookout area. Long, long, switchbacks keep the trails from ever being overly steep, but, in my humble opinion, do add unnecessary mileage to the route.
Beautiful wildflowers adorned the trail in many places.
PARTIAL ALTERNATE ROUTE
The dry drainage in the center of the photo above allows easy access to the ridge to the left. This shaves at least 3 miles off the round trip mileage. The trail itself eventually crosses it also. The report from The Levitator who took this route....STEEP AND LOOSE.
|Terrain||One-Way Mileage||Elevation Gain|
|Trail #415||1.46||522'||Trail #42||3.53||2609'||Trail #42-A||1.31||870'||Total||6.3||4001'|
Camping and RedTapeThe Holland Lookout is located in the Flathead 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 didn't see any bear sign on Holland Lookout, but the Swans are chock full of healthy-sized black bears and grizzlies.
There is no water available on this hike. A map of the Flathead National Forest and the Swan Lake Ranger District, are helpful in negotiating the many Forest Service Roads. Bug repellent is an absolute necessity in Montana in June, July and August. No ticks were seen on this hike.
The closest campground is Holland Lake Campground.