Elk Mountain Topo
Elk Mountain is located in the southern part of Glacier National Park. While certainly not one of the Park's major mountains, this mountain proved to be an enjoyable hike and the summit views of the surrounding area are extremely rewarding. Views to the Northeast are dominated by Little Dog Mountain. Northerly views are dominated by Sheep Mountain and Brave Dog Mountain. Farther to the Northwest Mount Saint Nicholas can also be seen. Views to the West are comprised of Great Northern Mountain and Mount Grant in the Great Bear Wilderness.[img:425367:aligncenter:medium:Little Dog Mountain]
[img:428446:alignright:medium:Elk Mountain Trail][img:425364:alignright:medium:Mt. Saint Nicholas...][img:426550:alignleft:small:Elk Mountain Topo]The trail begins as the Fielding Coal Creek Trail and runs through private property. Take this trail to the RR tracks and cross them. Turn left after crossing the tracks and you will soon be able to pick up the trail again to the right. There is a small stream crossing (late July) a short way up the trail. Follow the trail past the cabin where the Elk Mountain Trail intersects from the right. The trail begins on the southwest side of the mountain and wraps around to the north. You will pass through several stands of forest and meadows filled with wildflowers. Be warned! Even though there is no climbing or scrambling on this particular trail...this trail would be brutal if the hiker is not in decent shape as it continually goes upward. There is virtually no level travel at all! There is another small stream crossing further up the mountainside. There is a large false summit at about 7000 feet...from there the trail switchbacks up to the summit. Summit views are magnificent but we had to share them with many large flies and some sort of flying ant swarming out of the rocks in two different places. There are also lots of rusty nails and some broken glass at the summit.
[img:501209:alignright:medium:Left to right..Mt. St. Nicholas, Sheep Mountain, Brave Dog Mountain...and Barrier Buttes.]
[img:425354:alignright:small:Fielding Coal Creek Trailhead][img:425490:alignleft:medium:Wildflowers..]Elk Mountain is located 38 miles east of West Glacier just north of Hwy 2. Slow down at milemarker 191. You will cross a small bridge on Hwy 2 just after passing Bear Creek Lodge on the north side of Hwy 2...at this point look for a small gravel road (#1066) and turn left on to that road leading into Fielding. Follow the road to a defunct gravel pit on the right and park there. There is private property at the end of the road and no parking. Hike up the road to the trailhead which is clearly marked.
Elk Mountain is located in Glacier National Park
so all of those rules and regulations apply. Bring your insect repellent and your bear spray and make lots of noise!
There are two choices for camping located fairly close to Elk Mountain. Devil Creek
is located off of Hwy 2 a couple of miles west of the mountain. Summit Campground
is located further east on Hwy 2 very close to Marias Pass.
Lodging is also available in Essex at the Izaak Walton Inn
Timing is critical when ascending or descending this mountain. Trains are quite numerous in this area and can be extremely long and extremely slow...if you're not careful you could be stuck on the wrong side of the tracks!