OverviewWebb Mountain rises abruptly along the western side of Northwest Montana's Lake Koocanusa. The lake forms the border between the Salish Mountains to the east and the Purcells to the west.
On a clear day, views from the summit would also include, further to the NE, the Whitefish Range and to the SW, the Cabinets.
Atop the summit, stands the Webb Mountain Lookout which is available for rent from the Kootenai National Forest. I am also posting a link to a story about one family's overnight experiences at the lookout. Some of you may find it interesting, others amusing, and still others downright BS.
From downtown Whitefish drive north on Hwy 93 for approximately 51 miles to just south of Eureka, Montana. Turn left on Tobacco Road just before entering town. Drive for .7 miles and then turn right on Othorp Lake Road (854). Drive for 5 miles until Pinkham Road comes in from the right in a big sweeping curve. Bear right here and continue driving across the Salish Mountains for an additional 4.18 miles. All of these roads are paved. Along the way you will pass the access road for the Black Butte Lookout. Turn left on 37 (also paved) and drive south for 5.05 miles to the Lake Koocanusa Bridge. Turn right onto the bridge. At the end of the bridge turn left onto 228 (also paved) and drive south for 1.32 miles to the trailhead. From the north, the trailhead is un-marked, so we actually passed by it initially. After turning around, we saw the trailhead sign facing south. A tip, from the north, the trailhead is the first pull-out on the right side of the road after Boulder Creek.
99% of this hike is on Trail #435. This trail, little more than a rock-filled, watery, ditch in many places, switchbacks and switchbacks and switchbacks (that's right, I said switchbacks) up the mountain for almost 5 miles (that's right, I said 5 miles...the TH sign is WRONG) until coming to the lookout road, where it is just a short jaunt to the summit, pictured below.
|Terrain||One-Way Mileage||Elevation Gain|
|Trail 435 to Road||4.93||3288'||Road to Summit||.07||53'||Total||5.0||3341'|
Developed in 1930 with a 14x14' Columbia Falls "redi-cut" cab, this unique structure was replaced in 1959 with the present 10' concrete base topped with an R-6 flat cab. There was also a 35' tree platform 1/2 mile west of the lookout. The cabin is on the Recreation Rental program, and was threatened by a forest fire in 1994.
Camping and RedTapeWebb 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 bear sign on Webb Mountain on the trail, not surprising, since the government is trying to lure them in, and the Purcell Mountains are chock full of healthy-sized black bears and the occasional grizzly.
There is water available on this hike (June 2012). A map of the Kootenai National Forest and the Rexford/Fortine Ranger District, are helpful in negotiating the many Forest Service Roads. Bug repellent is an absolute necessity in Montana in June, July and August. Ticks were seen on this hike.
The closest campground is Webb Mountain Lookout.