Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Lat/Lon: 48.35760°N / 114.7582°W
County: Flathead
Activities: Hiking
Season: Spring, Summer, Fall
Elevation: 6125 ft / 1867 m


Ingalls MountainIngalls Mountain from Star Meadows Road

Ingalls Mountain stands in the Salish Range at 6,125 feet. It is the 25th tallest mountain in the Salish Range. Ingalls Mountain is a fairly easy mountain to climb. The Salish Range lies west of the town of Whitefish. Ingalls refers to a surname of Scottish origin and a placename, but the person it was named after is unknown to me.


Burned VegetationBurned vegetation along the trail
Ingalls Mountain used to have a lookout stationed on the summit, but there is anything hardly left. The lookout was first built in 1934 and was a 35 feet tall metal tower; which was 19 miles west of Whitefish. In 1978 it was moved to the Stolz Lumber Company site just 1 mile east of Big Mountain. Ingalls Mountain was burned badly by the Brush Creek Fire. The Brush Creek fire had burned about 30,000 acres of the Kootenai and Flathead National Forests, small amount of private property, and the Plum Creek Timber Company lands. It had started in June 26, 2007 when a lightning storm had ignited the fire, then the fire had grown for the next several weeks. On August 26th it was declared contained. The link above gives more info and a map showing how far the fire had spread.

Getting There

Ingalls Mountain TrailheadThe trailhead
To get to the Ingalls Mountain Trailhead, drive 12 miles north from Whitefish on Highway 93 North. Turn left onto Farm-To-Market Road at the sign that indicates the Tally Lake Campground and Round Meadows Cross-Country Ski Trails.

Travel on the Farm-to-Market Road for about 2 miles and make a right onto the Star Meadows Road. Travel on the paved Star Meadows Road for 17 miles{the road is paved, but there are lots of potholes}. After you travel the 17 miles you come to Road #538 also known as the Griffin Creek Road. Turn left onto the dirt road.

Cross over the bridge and continue on Road #538 up the hill for 2 miles until you come to a sign that indicates the Sylvia Lake turnoff. Immediately turn right after the sign and park after turning. The Ingalls Mountain trailhead is at the right and is marked by a sign that says Trail #171.

Red Tape

Ingalls Mountain is located in the Salish Range. This is bear country, so hike with bear spray and make lots of noise.
Another warning is to stay on the trail at least until you get to the 2nd clear cut where you have to go straight up. There is a poisonous plant called the Ragwort. The tansy ragwort was first reported in 1922 in Oregon, its a Eurasian weed that primarily spreads by seed. One can produce up to 150,000 seeds and can remain viable up to 15 years. It causes liver damage to both cattle and horses. Due to this noxious root the roads and campgrounds were closed because people were afraid it would've spread. Click at the link above to find more about the ragwort. The Tally Lake Ranger Station is working on a control project for the root.

Ridge Views

On the RidgeSP Member Rebelgrizz enjoying the views from the ridge
The SummitThe summit
There are no summit views because the summit is completely surrounded by trees. The ridge to the summit has all of the views; which are great. There are views of the other surrounding Salish Range mountains and the surrounding valleys.

Route Information

Indian Paint BrushAn Indian Paint Brush seen along the trail
From the trailLooking through the clear cut at the false summit
Ingalls Mountan is an excellent warm up mountain and one mountain to do if you're waiting for snow to melt on the higher elevated mountains in Glacier National Park. The trail has an 1800 feet elevation gain from the trailhead to the summit and is a total 7 mile hike round trip. The trail is dominated by Douglas Fir, beautiful old larch, and lodgepole pine. You can tell when you're on the trail that there was lots of logging done on the mountain in the past. There are hundreds of insects all over the trail so make sure to bring insect repellent and there are also a few fallen trees on the trail so you will have to go around them. For about 1 1/2 miles the trail steadily climbs throughout the forest then you come into a small clearing where you can see some of the other Salish Mountains. From there the trail goes up the ridge, but then crosses over to the west side. Then hike another 2 miles to where the trail cuts across some old clear cuts. The summit is located at the top of the second large clear cut. From the trail you climb up through the clear cut to get to the summit, if you go towards the left from the trail you're heading for the false summit, if you're going towards the right you're heading for the true summit.


Bring bear spray, water, insect repellent for the hundreds of mosquitos that follow you throughout the whole hike, and good foot gear for the numerous rocks on the trail.


Click for the latest Whitefish weather forecast.


You can camp at the Tally Lake Campground
or the Sylvia Lake Campground.