OverviewStanding at 6009' Johnson Peak comes in at #32 on the Salish Range peak list. Mountains in the Salish Range are not exceptionally high but do offer early season opportunities to get outdoors and get in some conditioning hikes for higher peaks later in the season.
Another outstanding feature of these mountains is SOLITUDE! Of the three we have hiked thus far in 2010 we have not seen another human on any of them.
Johnson Peak used to house a fire lookout tower at it's summit. According to Flatheadnative's Salish Range page the steel tower was removed from the summit and re-located to Calx Mountain in 1984. The following pictures show what was left behind.
Getting ThereFrom downtown Whitefish drive approximately 5 miles north on Rt. 93 to Twin Bridges Road and turn left. Drive approximately 1 to 2 miles and turn right on...yes, Twin Bridges Road again. Travel a short distance on Twin Bridges until it dead ends into Farm To Market Road. Turn right here and drive for approximately 5 miles until coming to Star Meadows Road where you will turn left. Travel for approximately 8 miles on Star Meadows Road until coming to Forest Service Road #2904. Watch for this on the right after topping out on a large incline.
Trail InformationThe real beauty of hiking Johnson Peak is that you can make it long with a considerable elevation gain or short with little elevation gain. Forest Service Road #2904 is OPEN to motorized vehicles and with numerous pullouts along the entire road you have many options to lengthen or shorten this hike as you see fit.
Longer Route Statistic
Parking at the bottom of FS Road 2904
Approximately 6.25 miles to
summit with an elevation gain of
Shorter route statistic
Parking at Trail 176 TH
Approximately 1.25 miles to summit
with an elevation gain of
Trail 176 begins at an approximate elevation of 5300' and contours along the ridge for approximately 1.25 miles gaining approximately 700' in elevation. Late May seemed to be an ideal time to hike this trail...any earlier and it would be snow-covered...wait til summer and the trail would be much more difficult due to vegetation...and today, there were no bugs!
Unfortunately, there are no summit views from Johnson Peak as the summit area is surrounded by tall trees. However, Trail 176 continues past the summit in a southwesterly direction where after a short hike it briefly meets FS Road 2903 coming up the west side of the mountain in the Trixie Pass area. Continuing on southward and down the mountain Trail 176 eventually ends at FS Road 9502.
Camping and Red TapeJohnson Peak is located in the Flathead National Forest which is bear country so make lots of noise when you hike and carry bear spray.
The closest campground is Tally Lake Campground.
GearBring your own water on this hike.
A Flathead National Forest Tally Lake Ranger District Map would also be helpful....available at local outdoor retailers.
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