OverviewLocated just south of the Canadian border in NW Montana's Whitefish Range lies the Ten Lakes Scenic Area. This remote hiking/backpacking area offers 89 miles of trails within it's 15,700 acres. There are many alpine lakes, several named peaks, and several other un-named points that provide the hiker/climber with many destinations from which to choose.
Poorman Mountain, at 7832', is the highest and northernmost named peak, located in the Ten Lakes area. That makes Poorman the second highest overall in the U.S. portion of the Whitefish Range, with the highest being Nasukoin Mountain located to the south in the central portion of the range.
Other peaks of note in the Ten Lakes Scenic Area of the Whitefish Range include the following: Green Mountain, Mount Wam, Stahl Peak, St. Clair Peak, Mount Gibralter, Ksanka Peak and Independence Peak.
MUCH OF THIS ROUTE IS THE SAME AS GREEN MOUNTAIN
When you reach the trail intersection, turn right and begin making your way towards Point 7712 and the ridge east of it. The trail is relatively flat until you reach the ridge...total distance to the top of the ridge is about 1.7 miles with a gain of about 440'. The Highline Trail #339 switchbacks its way up and over that ridge and angles down the other side into another basin with two other small lakes. The ridge offers up some great views...pictured below.
LOOKING BACK THE WAY YOU CAME
POINT 7686 FROM THE RIDGE
FIRST VIEW OF POORMAN FROM THE RIDGE
Traverse across the basin below Green Mountain's east face until reaching the saddle between Green's NE ridge and Point 7686's SW ridge. Here Trail #339 takes a dip of about 150' as it traverses below the west face of Point 7686. Before reaching the saddle of Poorman and Point 7686 you can walk up a small overlook and get a great view of the Wolverine Lakes from above.
Get back on the trail and continue heading north. Continue over the saddle and up the trail and look for a small cairn beside a small set of cliffs. This is where you leave the trail and hop up onto Poorman's south ridge. From here it's pretty much a straight shot up the ridge to the summit. Once on the ridge, there is faint evidence of a trail, here and there, as Poorman had a lookout years ago.
The grassy summit, pictured below, lends rich views in all directions.
|Terrain||One-Way Mileage||Elevation Gain|
|Trail #83||2.32||1150'||Trail #339 to Ridge-top||1.70||440'||Trail #339 to Poorman||1.39||244'||Poorman's south ridge||.31||475'||Total||5.72||2309'|
Camping and RedTapePoorman Mountain is located in the Kootenai 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 Poorman's south 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 Kootenai National Forest and the Rexford/Fortine 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 at Little Therriault Lake.