OverviewTongue Mountain is located in the extreme northern portion of NW Montana's spectacular Jewel Basin Hiking Area. The Jewel Basin Hiking Area is located in NW Montana's spectacular Swan Range. That may sound redundant to some, but spectacular certainly applies in both of these cases.
Though overshadowed by it's more famous neighbor to the NE, Glacier National Park, the Swan Range is, as are all of the other mountain ranges surrounding Glacier, indeed spectacular, in it's own right. Traveling to the summit of Tongue Mountain, this becomes quite evident, as Tongue lends stupendous views in all directions, particularly to the south into the Jewel Basin of Mount Aeneas, and to the east of the Flathead Range.
Route InformationHike up Trail #8 (Noisy Notch) for a little over 2 miles, gaining almost 800'. This trail traverses the western flank of an un-named ridge, the crest of which, makes up a portion of the boundary of the Jewel Basin. This brings you to the second trail junction since you began hiking and this is the one you're looking for, with Alpine Trail #7. Head left, or north, on Trail #7 and you are quickly greeted by two views, Twin Lakes and Tongue Mountain.
Hike along #7 as it contours around a point and through a meadow for almost a mile until it junctions with the Tongue Mountain Trail #55. This is mostly flat hiking. Make a right on #55, heading north and then NE. This trail traverses the southern flank of an un-named point. There are ups and downs along the trail. We stayed on #55 for about a mile until heading up and off-trail to the low-point on the ridge between the un-named point and Tongue.
From this point on the ridge to the summit it is a pretty simple Class 2 walk-up. We may have had to use our hands to gain elevation in a couple of spots but only briefly. There was a small dip in the ridge before actually getting to Tongue, and it is possible to hike on the trail to below this point, if you want to avoid that portion of the ridge. Tongue begins as a steep, grassy slope.
Looking back down the grassy slope at the ridge and the un-named point.
Throw in some deadfall, some very minor cliffs, and a few false summits and before you know it you've gained the summit and are treated to some very special views.
|Terrain||One-Way Mileage||Elevation Gain|
|Trail #8||2.17||780'||Trail #7||.72||17'||Trail #55||1.00||-40'||Off-Trail to Summit||.43||433'||Total||4.32||1230'|
Camping and RedTapeTongue 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. We did see bear sign on this hike, and the Swan Range is chock full of healthy-sized black bears and the occasional grizzly.
There is water available on this hike. Maps of the Flathead National Forest and the Jewel Basin are helpful in negotiating the many Forest Service Roads and the many trails in the Jewel Basin. Bug repellent is an absolute necessity in Montana in June, July and sometimes August. No ticks were seen on this hike.
There are many places to camp within the Jewel Basin.