Explore Montana: Hiking Ousel Peak in the Great Bear Wilderness
Ousel Peak Hike Trail Info
Distance: 7.2 miles round trip
Trailhead Elevation: 3,380 feet
Ousel Peak Elevation: 7,157 feet
Elevation Gain: about 4,000 feet
Range: Flathead Mountain Range
Location: Flathead County, Montana, USA
Dany and Alex drove in from Oregon with their two dogs this past week. We thus found ourselves in need of a dog-friendly visit to the Crown of the Continent (which is mostly dog-unfriendly anywhere off the beaten path – i.e. just about everywhere). We turned to my good friend, fire effects monitor for the National Park Service, and fellow Cleveland, OH native Ryan, who chose to hike to the south facing (i.e. mostly melted and warm) Ousel Peak, where we were guaranteed exceptional views of Glacier’s southern boundary and the northern peaks of the Flathead Range.
Situated in Montana’s Great Bear Wilderness, Ousel Peak stands at 7,157 feet in elevation. The hike up to it is slightly brutal with an elevation gain of about 3,910 feet over 3.6 miles (or 7.2 miles roundtrip). The first part of the hike is through beautiful forest, but the upper portion is exposed and sunny so bring plenty of water.
Since the upper part of the hike was covered in snow, we alpine bum slid much of the way down.To find the Ousel Peak trailhead, drive 6.5 miles east of West Glacier on Highway 2. You want to be between mile markers 159 and 160.
Park on the road’s river side and cross Highway 2 to access the trailhead. Be cautious when crossing as the highway curves at the trailhead site and you risk going unseen by an oncoming vehicle. On the same note, wrangle your dog prior to nearing the road on the way down, so that they don’t run across the street to your car without stopping for traffic.
Lastly, you’re in Bear Country so hike with bear spray and make a lot of noise.
For more check out my Ousel Peak article on Gore-Tex.com