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NF Belly River

Intermediate

Trail

5.9 mile 9.6 kilometer point to point
82% Runnable
Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 1,550' 473 m
Descent: -1,095' -334 m
High: 6,038' 1,840 m
Low: 4,583' 1,397 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 8% (5°)
Max Grade: 28% (16°)

Dogs

No Dogs
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Map Key

Trail shared by Jake Bramante

A little route finding through meadows takes you to around a ridge to a remote river drainage.

Jake Bramante

Features Birding · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views · Wildlife

Bring bear spray and know how to route find.

Runner Notes

Route finding and a river ford make for an advanced outdoors person day.

Description

At about three miles from the Chief Mountain Trailhead, a faint, but obvious trail breaks off of the Belly River Trail towards the Belly River and disappears into the river. Follow the trail into the river and ford it to the other side. Make sure that you practice caution when fording the river as crossings can be dangerous. It's better to do so later in the summer when the water levels have gone down.

Once across the river, continue southwest out into the open meadows, along the treeline. The trail is faint to non-existent through the meadow. The journey is beautiful as you head towards Sentinel Mountain. Keep an eye out for elk and other large animals in the meadow.

Aim for the northwest corner of the meadow where it naturally draws up and a trail will gradually appear. From here it enters an airy forest and travels north and wraps around the mountain just below the US/Canada border. Views are small and intermittent, but get better as you continue west. The forest changes to a more dry forest with shorter trees and the views of the North Fork Belly River drainage begin to open up. Sofa Mountain to the northwest and Sarcee Mountain to the west create rocky backdrops to a beautiful, lush drainage.

The trail drops along the contours of the mountain until you get to a seasonal creek bed. A pile of rocks across the old trail serve as the indicator to just follow the newer trail along the top of the north ridge above the creek bed. This drops down through meadows and into some trees as you get to the bottom and the river's edge.

The trail used to ford the river and continue along the river up to the Miche Wabum Lake, but has now been abandoned and it is an epic bushwhack to the lake.

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

Wide meadows are great for spring and early summer flowers such as geraniums while the higher elevations have arnica and other forest flowers. Birds include many meadow birds such as savannah sparrows while the forest has chickadees and nuthatches. Elk, deer and bear may be seen in the meadows and forests.

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Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 1 vote

#12

in Belly River

#13751

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  4.0 from 1 vote
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Trail Rankings

#12

in Belly River

#290

in Montana

#13,751

Overall
2 Views Last Month
177 Since Sep 2, 2015
Intermediate

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Photos

Looking down into the North Fork Belly River drainage.
Jun 20, 2016 near Swiftcu…, MT
The Belly River.
Jun 23, 2016 near Swiftcu…, MT
Trip video to the North Fork Belly River in the fall.
Jun 20, 2016 near Swiftcu…, MT

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