Great Bear Wilderness

Ousel Peak Trail, Montana

4.5/5

(125 reviews on All Trails)

best views of Glacier National Park's southern boundary
from any mountain in the
Great Bear Wilderness

TRAIL

This 7.3-mile out-and-back trail near West Glacier, Montana enters the Great Bear Wilderness through a forest of lodgepole pine trees in the Flathead National Forest

With a few false summits, and a brutally steep incline, Ousel Peak trail is generally considered a challenging route, and takes an average of 6 hours to complete. 

This is a popular hiking trail, but you can still enjoy solitude during quieter times of day. The best times to hike this trail are May through October. 

description

Ousel Peak trail is steep from the start, seemingly weaving its way straight up the mountain, but the views at the top make every step worth it!

After leaving the valley floor, the forest gets wetter. At timberline, the cloud of mosquitos clears revealing sunshine, blue skies, and glorious views of the Glacier’s southern peaks.

Depending on time of year, the trail to Ousel Peak tends to start out thick and damp, but after a few miles it opens up into stunning mountain views. Dogs welcome off-leash in some areas.

View map

Ousel Peak Trail Map
Ousel Peak Trail Montana

A GEOLOGICAL WONDERLAND

sandwiched between the 1,063,503-acre Bob Marshall Wilderness and the 1,012,837-acre Glacier National Park

From the rocky summit, you’ll catch stunning panoramic views of the snowy peaks in the northern Flathead Range to the south. Inside of the park to the north you’ll look over Harrison Lake and a long line of snow capped peaks in the Lewis Range.

Directions

Address:

Highway 2, Montana 59913

Keep your eyes peeled for mile marker 159

In summer prepare to play Frogger through a sea of mad tourists driving 80 mph toward Glacier National Park

Ousel Peak sits within the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem of western Montana

Ousel Peak Trail Montana
Montana Grizzly Bears Playing
NORTHERN CONTINENTAL DIVIDE ECOSYSTEM

this ecosystem is home to the highest population of grizzlies in the lower 48

Outdoor Research Seattle Sombrero Rain Hat – Lightweight Waterproof Protection

Outdoor Research Waterproof Hat Ousel Peak Trail Guide
4.5/5

(123 ratings on Amazon)

$64.95
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Mace Brand Alaska Maximum Strength Bear Spray – 20’ Powerful Defense for Hiking, Made in USA

Bear Spray Ousel Peak Trail Guide
4.5/5

(123 ratings on Amazon)

$64.95
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Ousel Peak Trail Montana

in June the northern facing Ousel Peak is a lush, wet jungle teeming with life

as jungles go, it is also teeming with insects, and the deeper you hike, the damper it gets

possible encounters
On the trail

A few things you might find on the trail

Capable of honing in on the scent of carbon dioxide from a distance of up to 50 meters when identifying their victims, this sea of mini-Draculas was out for blood. survived the attack waged on us by an army of flying warriors intent on eating us alive
hurts, but it’s really good for you if you brew it in tea. The sharp hollow hairs all over its leaves and stems are what sting you. They’re called trichomes and when you touch them their tips fall off and penetrate you. Sort of like hypodermic needles, they dig in and inject you with formic acid, histamines, and other chemicals that make your skin flare up. It takes at least a few minutes for the plant to wilt and the oils to start evaporating.
a patch of weeds with white flower tops to my right. “Oh man, watch this! Don’t you touch that bloody hole.” I command her excitedly, reaching over to pull some leaves off the nearby plant. I place them in my mouth and chew. One eye cocked, Dany stares at me quizzically. Moments later, I produce a gently pulverized ball of delicious smelling green goo, which I proceed to spread onto her wound. “Gross, Dag!” Dany exclaims watching in horror as I guiltily grin up at her, my saliva now mixing with the rivulet of blood trickling across her calf. Judging by her reaction I can see that she had not anticipated such close contact with my spit rich wonder ball. “It’s yarrow, aka knight’s milfoil or woundwort,” I proudly tell her, channeling my inner Montana medicine woman. Her look tells me she is not yet sold, so I go on. “The Native Americans used it to coagulate blood. The leaves are full of antimicrobial oils that stop bleeding, speed wound healing, and help relieve skin itching or rash symptoms. Look, you’re not bleeding anymore.” I say wiping my concoction from her skin. “Guess what else?” “What?” “It’s also a natural insect repellant.” Massaging the juices out by rolling the leaves in our palms we rub the yarrow residue all over and place a few extra leafy stems in our hair, pants pockets and backpacks for added protection. Stuffing an extra couple handfuls into my hiking pants just in case I have another run in with more stinging nettle later, I feel as prepared as I’ll ever be. Though we’re hopeful that my medicine woman knowledge will ward off the insects ahead, we mentally prepare ourselves to re-enter the wet, jungle-like forest. Slowly, gathering our courage, we step forward and to our delight, none of the once voracious pests seem to be landing on us. Dany looks over at me and shakes her head. “You couldn’t have thought of this on our way up?” she asks. “But it’s so much more profound now. You wouldn’t have appreciated it earlier.” I laugh.
a patch of weeds with white flower tops to my right. “Oh man, watch this! Don’t you touch that bloody hole.” I command her excitedly, reaching over to pull some leaves off the nearby plant. I place them in my mouth and chew. One eye cocked, Dany stares at me quizzically. Moments later, I produce a gently pulverized ball of delicious smelling green goo, which I proceed to spread onto her wound. “Gross, Dag!” Dany exclaims watching in horror as I guiltily grin up at her, my saliva now mixing with the rivulet of blood trickling across her calf. Judging by her reaction I can see that she had not anticipated such close contact with my spit rich wonder ball. “It’s yarrow, aka knight’s milfoil or woundwort,” I proudly tell her, channeling my inner Montana medicine woman. Her look tells me she is not yet sold, so I go on. “The Native Americans used it to coagulate blood. The leaves are full of antimicrobial oils that stop bleeding, speed wound healing, and help relieve skin itching or rash symptoms. Look, you’re not bleeding anymore.” I say wiping my concoction from her skin. “Guess what else?” “What?” “It’s also a natural insect repellant.” Massaging the juices out by rolling the leaves in our palms we rub the yarrow residue all over and place a few extra leafy stems in our hair, pants pockets and backpacks for added protection. Stuffing an extra couple handfuls into my hiking pants just in case I have another run in with more stinging nettle later, I feel as prepared as I’ll ever be. Though we’re hopeful that my medicine woman knowledge will ward off the insects ahead, we mentally prepare ourselves to re-enter the wet, jungle-like forest. Slowly, gathering our courage, we step forward and to our delight, none of the once voracious pests seem to be landing on us. Dany looks over at me and shakes her head. “You couldn’t have thought of this on our way up?” she asks. “But it’s so much more profound now. You wouldn’t have appreciated it earlier.” I laugh.

WELCOME TO MONTANA THE LAST BEST PLACE