“Views abound to the top of a mountain with a staffed lookout in a quiet, remote corner of Glacier.
— Jake Bramante
Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
Bring bear spray. Take this route later in summer, well after spring runoff when the water is lower.
Loneman Lookout is most often taken as a long day trip involving a ford of the Middle Fork Flathead River. It's for those reasons and the fact that it's in the southern end of Glacier which receives few visitors, that you'll see very, very few people.
Ford the river after spring runoff at the Nyack Crossing Trail
using extreme caution. Follow the South Boundary Trail
west and, at a small rise, the trail takes off at an unmarked junction with a faint trail. Having a GPS or using the Trail Run Project mobile app
is very nice as you can be looking for this junction.
From here, the trail gains elevation on a southwestern facing slope. This area was a former burn, so you can see out, and the mountains in the Middle Fork drainage across the river are fantastic. As you climb, the trail wraps up on a ridge and looks down on a little pocket lake called Halfmoon Lake.
From there it traverses the hillside on a mostly level section bordering an unburned section of trees, before beginning its ascent in earnest. The trail has a few switchbacks as it works up the mountain's west slope and traverses through more of a burned forest. Views continue to open up with the views of the mint green Harrison Lake being particularly noteworthy as you approach the top.
At the switchback that heads back south, you get some great views of Walton Mountain backdropped by the mighty Mount Jackson. This is just a tease as you work your way back south and wrap around the mountain, entering wonderful alpine terrain with some trees dotting grassy slopes. The trail travels through the double summits at the top and wraps around the actual summit like a snail's shell.
Views from the summit are absolutely fantastic. The mountains in this area are majestic and beautiful, and you get a unique look at places most people don't visit. The vantage rewards you with a sea of peaks as you look north into the heart of Glacier.
This content was created by Jake Bramante of Hike 734. Visit hike734.com
for more expert Glacier content and maps that help you decide which trail to run.
Flora & Fauna
Most of the trail is an old burn area with plants such as fireweed giving way to more alpine plants such as beargrass near the top. Elk are common in this area, although not frequently seen. This is a great route in September when the elk are bugling and the river is low.