OverviewMount Hefty is located in the remote northeastern corner of NW Montana's Whitefish Range. Bordered on the east by the semi-remote Northfork Valley, adjacent to the Northfork area of Glacier National Park, the south and west, more peaks of the United States Whitefish Range, and finally, to the north, a Canadian cornucopia of peaks in the continuation of the Whitefish Range across the international border. In fact, the international border slices across Mount Hefty just to the north of it's highest point. My point, this peak is so remote that it takes some doing just to get to the trailhead, but when you reach the summit, most will agree, the views were worth all the driving to get there.
Getting ThereThoma Lookout. Turn right and head up #114-A for an additional 3.2 miles to the trailhead. #114-A is not in good shape and I strongly recommend good all-terrain tires to deal with the rocks. This TH has limited parking so arrive early.
Some may question the need to drive through the park. It is possible to shave some mileage off the driving by taking the Northfork Road directly from Columbia Falls, but if you've ever driven this portion of the road at its worst, (i.e. washboarding) you'll know why the other way is recommended. Whether you're a local or a tourist, if you like to hike, you'll more than likely have a pass to Glacier National Park anyway, 2012 cost for an annual pass is still just $35.
|Terrain||One-Way Mileage||Elevation Gain|
|Closed 114-A||.74||262'||Trail #18||1.72||1178'||Trail #15||1.57||1136'||Descent to saddle||.22||-298'||Ridge to Summit||.88||340'||Total||5.13||2916'|
Camping and RedTapeMount Hefty 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 saw lots of bear sign on Mount Hefty's summit ridge and the Whitefish Range is chock full of healthy-sized black bears and the occasional grizzly.
There is water available on this hike. A map of the Flathead National Forest and the Glacier View Ranger District is 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 the Tuchuck Campground.