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Flattop Mountain

Intermediate
 4.0 (4)

Start in the forest, through an old burn, then up onto wonderful, open alpine meadows with views.


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Map Key

12.0

Miles

19.3

KM

85%

Runnable

6,840' 2,085 m

High

3,652' 1,113 m

Low

3,825' 1,166 m

Up

814' 248 m

Down

7%

Avg Grade (4°)

45%

Max Grade (24°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Birding · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Bring bear spray.

Runner Notes

Not much shade, so can be hot in the summer.

Description

The trailhead is found by taking the dirt road signed "Packer's Roost" from the Going-to-the-Sun Road and following it to the buildings at the end.

From there, the level trail travels through a nice, airy forest with tall growth such as thimbleberry. The trail enters an old burn as the Granite Park - Flattop Mountain Connector breaks off to the right. From here, filtered views of Heavens Peak and Flattop Mountain keep you company as you make your way through the stands of silver trees. The trail gently goes up and down and veers away from McDonald Creek.

Eventually, the trail crosses over Mineral Creek on a swinging bridge, then begins to switchback up Flattop Mountain, loosely following Flattop Creek. Keep an eye out on the cliffs on the other side of the creek for mountain goats. This portion heading up through the south face of the mountain is part of the old burn and offers little protection from the sun, so expect it to be hotter in the afternoon.

The trail comes near a waterfall, but not super close, before coming alongside the creek and paralleling it up the mountain as the terrain levels off. The trail then passes a campground and crosses through stands of burned trees and wonderful open meadows filled with a variety of birds as it gradually climbs. Mountains are now visible in all directions as this mountain is really an old meadow between the Lewis and Livingston ranges. The views are great as you reach the top of your climb, then drop down a bit and follow the Continental Divide, then work your way across meadows an up to the Fifty Mountain campground and join up with the Waterton Valley Trail and the Highline Trail.

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

Thimbleberry and lush vegetation in the beginning leads to fireweed, globe mallow and aster, then glacier lily and other alpine flowers. Animals range from deer, black bear, squirrels and hares in the lower sections to grizzlies and mountain goats in the higher elevations. Birds are varied from chickadees, nuthatches, woodpeckers and grouse in the valley floor to finches, hawks, and other open meadow, alpine birds.

Contacts

Shared By:

Jake Bramante

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 4 votes

#10

in Lake McDonald

#9736

Overall
  4.0 from 4 votes
5 Star
25%
4 Star
50%
3 Star
25%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#10

in Lake McDonald

#226

in Montana

#9,736

Overall
22 Views Last Month
1,687 Since Sep 3, 2015
Intermediate

0%
0%
75%
25%
0%
0%

Photos

Looking south towards the Garden Wall from the high point of the trail on Flattop Mountain.
Jun 9, 2016 near Swiftcu…, MT

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