OverviewMoose Peak is located in the south west portion of NW Montana's Whitefish Range. Although located in the south west portion of the range, Moose Peak is actually accessed from the east side. Sitting just to the NW of the idyllic Moose Lake Campground at Moose Lake, Moose Peak is a moderate hike that can be accomplished for those having a short window of time.
On a clear day, Moose Peak provides expansive views of the Whitefish Range in all directions and Glacier National Park to the east. Moose Peak is the 8th highest peak in the U.S. portion of the Whitefish Range and once sported a lookout at the summit, although not much remains.
A single vehicle entry pass for Glacier National Park for one week for the year 2011 is still $25 and an annual pass is $35. Whether you're visiting the area or a local, you'll more than likely already have one or the other.
We made the mistake of parking at the first place available. What looked like a trail going up the ridge actually turned into a bit of a bushwhack until we eventually worked our way over to the actual trail. Do yourself a favor, continue down the road next to the lake to the large parking area at the actual TH...which is signed...pictured below.
Route InformationThe trail switchbacks up to the top of the ridge through old-growth forest. One neat view from the ridge is of the Werner Peak Lookout to the southwest...pictured below.
For the most part the trail was in good shape, however, there was an area where it narrowed down to little more than a skinny ditch, in which case it was actually easier to hike next to the trail instead of on it. Just below the summit the trail disappeared in a meadow of beautiful purple wildflowers. At this point, it made sense to just head directly up and we popped out onto the actual summit...pictured below.
As with many mountains in the Whitefish Range, the south and/or west slopes are steep and heavily forested while the north and/or east faces are steep, cliffy and rugged and would present quite the climbing challenge...not to mention the issue of accessing these faces which presents the high probability of horrendous bushwhacks.
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Camping and RedTapeMoose Peak 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, although we saw no specific bear sign on Moose Peak, the Whitefish Range is chock-full of healthy-sized black bears and grizzlies.
A map of the Glacier View Ranger District of the Flathead National Forest is helpful. Bug repellent is an absolute necessity in Montana in June, July and August. There is water available at Moose Lake.
The closest official campground is Moose Lake Campground.