Welcome to SP!  -
Strawberry Mountain

Strawberry Mountain

Strawberry Mountain

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Montana, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 48.21306°N / 113.98056°W

Object Title: Strawberry Mountain

County: Flathead

Activities: Hiking, Scrambling

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall

Elevation: 6264 ft / 1909 m


Page By: rebelgrizz

Created/Edited: Nov 28, 2011 / Nov 29, 2011

Object ID: 762868

Hits: 4403 

Page Score: 85.36%  - 20 Votes 

Vote: Log in to vote



Strawberry Lake is a popular, moderate day-hike in NW Montana's northern Swan Range. When you arrive at the lake, if you have the inclination to go higher, Strawberry Mountain presents itself as the obvious choice. For those of us with a little extra gumption and a penchant for bushwhacking, Strawberry's summit views prove to be well worth the extra effort expended to get there, even though Strawberry owns the distinction of being the "shortest" named peak in the range.

Strawberry is the next named summit north of the Swan Range's Jewel Basin Hiking Area. Alpine Trail #7 is the north/south trail that would take you into the Jewel Basin from Strawberry Lake, and even beyond, if you so choose.

Getting There

Strawberry Mountain
Trailhead parking
Strawberry Mountain
Info sign
From downtown Whitefish drive south on Hwy 93 for 16 miles to downtown Kalispell. Continue through Kalispell on Hwy 93 south for an additional 8.43 miles to Hwy 82. Turn left or east and drive for 6.87 miles to Hwy 35. Turn right on Hwy 35 and drive south for .4 miles to Hwy 83. Turn left on Hwy 83 and drive east for 2.7 miles to Echo Lake Road. Turn left on Echo Lake Road and drive north for 2.2 miles to Foothill Road. Bear right on Foothill Road and drive north for 3.7 miles until reaching Forest Service Road #5390. Turn right on #5390 and drive for 3.3 miles until reaching the trailhead. The trailhead has parking for several vehicles but you should get there early as Strawberry Lake is a popular day-hike destination.

Route Information

Strawberry Mountain
Trailhead sign
Strawberry Mountain
Krause Creek tributary
Trail #5 switchbacks its way up to Strawberry Lake, gaining about 1500' in a little over 3 miles. This is an old-growth forest and there aren't many views until you reach the upper part of the trail as it begins the last traverse toward the lake. First view of Strawberry...pictured below.

After reaching the trail intersection with Alpine Trail #7 just before the lake, make a left and proceed to the north on Trail #7 for just under a half-mile. Your goal is to reach the crest in the trail between Strawberry and Point 6154 to the SW. There are probably other ways to ascend Strawberry, but they would've involved even more bushwhacking. When you reach the tree pictured below...make a right and begin the bushwhack up Strawberry's west ridge.

A brief, but intense, bushwhack upward through steep and dense huckleberry thickets is probably not the smartest thing to do in the fall of the year when bears are in their hyperphagic state, but to reach the summit via this route, it was necessary.


Strawberry Mountain
Beginning of bushwhack
Strawberry Mountain
Farther up on the ridge
Strawberry Mountain
Strawberry's NW face

Strawberry Mountain
Fall color
Strawberry Mountain
Dense vegetation
Strawberry Mountain
Huckleberry thickets

Once through the worst of the thickets, just continue upward through a couple of small, steep meadows. The only holds available in some places were tufts of grass or evergreen branches. Overall, about 1/4 of a mile gaining about 500' to the summit.


Strawberry Mountain
Summit view from the route
Strawberry Mountain
From the false summit
Strawberry Mountain
Approaching the summit

Strawberry Mountain
Approximate route

Strawberry Mountain
Looking back down the route from the false summit

TerrainOne-Way MileageElevation Gain
Trail #53.391499'
Trail #7.40188'
Bushwhack to summit.24495'

Summit Views

Camping and RedTape

Strawberry Mountain 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 bear sign specifically on Strawberry Mountain, the Swan Range is chock full of healthy-sized black bears and grizzlies.

Bear Stuff

There is water available on this hike, bring a filter if you plan to use natural water sources. A map of the Flathead National Forest is helpful in negotiating the many Forest Service Roads. Bug repellent is an absolute necessity in Montana in June, July and August.

The closest campground is at Handkerchief Lake Campground, which is really not all that close, as it is located on the east side of the Swan Range on the west side of the Hungry Horse Reservoir AND was actually closed for 2011 due to road construction.

Parting Shot