OverviewAt 6763', Murr Peak is the third highest summit in NW Montana's Salish Mountains. Murr's summit is tree-covered with no views, so I can only think of a couple of reasons to make your way to the top. First, if you're in the area to summit Castle Rock, secondly, just for the exercise, or thirdly, just to cross it off of a list. We summitted it for all of the above.
Getting ThereDrive 29.2 miles west of Kalispell on Hwy 2 to #879. This is signed as the North Fork Murr Creek on Hwy 2 and is located on the east side of McGregor Lake. Turn left here and drive up the mountain 4.18 miles to #5583 which is the third left. This road is not signed at the intersection! A map of the Lolo National Forest is very helpful in negotiating these roads. After turning onto #5583 drive 4.25 miles until finding a pullout on the left side of the road just after passing two gates on the right side of the road. This is also after passing the pull-out we used for climbing Castle Rock, at 3.35 miles. The second gate, pictured below, is where you begin the hike.
The hike begins on a logging road and continues on the road for 1.07 miles gaining 373' in elevation. At this point, you have arrived at the logged NE shoulder of the mountain and a great place to start your bushwhack to the summit.
Bushwhack up through the logged area for .23 miles gaining 279' in elevation. This portion is not overly difficult as the terrain has good footing and it is very easy to pick your way through and over the waste pieces of timber. You do get decent views of Castle Rock to the north and Bold Peak to the SE as you go up.
At this point you will have popped out onto an upper primitive road which is a good place to take a break before you continue the bushwhack to the summit. Ironically, on this mountain, the higher the elevation the thicker the vegetation became, increasing the difficulty of the bushwhack and also increasing the numbers of flies and mosquitoes dramatically.
From where we left the upper road, we just followed the path of least resistance up and through the trees. Eventually bearing to the right once up on the ridge to find the actual summit in the trees. This continued for .26 miles gaining an additional 166' in elevation. Unfortunately, the actual summit, pictured below, was an uninspiring mound of grass surrounded by trees with absolutely no views in any direction.
However, if you step over the log at the far end of the summit and look to your left, you should be able to glimpse through the trees, a trail. This is Trail #118 coming in from Pinehill 6410' to the west. Make your way to the trail and turn right and walk for just over a tenth of a mile to the only view you will get, Castle Rock 6242' to the NE, pictured below.
|Terrain||One-Way Mileage||Elevation Gain|
Camping & Red TapeMurr Peak is located in the Lolo 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 bear sign specifically on Murr Peak, the Salish Mountains are chock full of healthy-sized black bears and the occasional grizzly.
There is no water available on this hike. A map of the Lolo National Forest is helpful in negotiating the many Forest Service Roads. Bug repellent is an absolute necessity in Montana in June and July.
The closest campground is at McGregor Lake.