Big Mountain Sunset
Big Mountain lies in the Whitefish Range and stands at 6,817 feet. It is the most popular mountain in the range at both summer and winter time. Big Mountain is a famous ski mountain and gets hundreds of visitors who come to ski every day or snowshoe up to the summit. Big Mountain is a great warm up mountain for the hiking and climbing season. The ski resort is called the Whitefish Mountain Resort. During the summer there are just as many activities to do as in the winter, such as golf, hiking, and walking in the treetops.
Looking down at Whitefish Lake and the Ski Village
To get to the Danny On Trailhead drive through Whitefish on Highway 93. Make a 90 degree turn at the Central School and follow the signs for Big Mountain. When you are at the foot of Big Mountain, park the vehicle in one of the large parking lots and go towards the Hellroaring Saloon which is close to Chair 1. The Danny On Trailhead is located by the saloon. The trailhead is located directly uphill from the last building on the right in the village area.
Big Mountain is located in the Whitefish Range. This is bear country
, so hike with bear spray and make lots of noise.
Looking towards the Swan Range
Views of Glacier National Park dominate the eastern skyline. Big Mountain probably has the best overlook of the Flahead Valley. The Salish Range and the Swan Range can also be seen from the mountain.
Looking down at the trail from the summit
The Danny On Trail is one of the most popular day hikes in the Flathead Valley. The trail is named in honor of Danny On. He was a Forest Service employee who was a well known conservationist and photographer. In 1979 he died in a ski accident on Big Mountain.
Looking up the mountain from the trail
The trail cuts through spruce and larch forests, beside streams and finally, leads into the alpine meadows summit area. It is 7.6 miles round trip and has a 2,200 foot elevation gain. The trail shows bear use, especially in the late summer and early fall when huckleberries start to ripen. The trail wraps around the lower part of the mountain and eventually climbs up to a ridge leading to the summit. There are plenty of signs so there should be no problem finding your way to the Summit House. Then just hike the same way back down. One thing you can do on Big Mountain is ride one of the chair lifts or gondolas back down the mountain for free if you hike to the top.