Trilobite Range Lollipop Loop
ElevationAscent: 8,600' 2,621 m
Descent: -8,600' -2,621 m
High: 7,795' 2,376 m
Low: 4,796' 1,462 m
GradeAvg Grade: 6% (4°)
Max Grade: 45% (24°)
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“Backpack through thick pine forest, high passes, and alpine ridgeline views with river crossings and alpine lakes.”— DAVID LOWE
The Dolly Vardon drainage is another thick pine forest with great views of the creek and surrounding mountains. The outfitters camp is great camp location with several swimming holes. The pack up trail 241 to Chair Mountain is difficult, but the views on top are awesome. Elevation around 7,000 feet.
Trail 241 follows below the ridgeline of Chair Mountain and Gable Peaks. Great alpine views up and down the Dolly Vardon valley and Argosy Mountain. Beautiful alpine meadows with wildflowers. The Trilobite Lakes are awesome alpine lakes great for swimming.
The pack to Dean Lake is a high alpine trail too, with beautiful views. Pentagon Peak looms overhead. The trail from Dean Lake to Switchback Pass is more alpine views. The trail down Trail 177 meets back up with Trail 173, completing the loop.
Day three, continue on Dolly Vardon Pentagon #173 for about 5 miles to an outfitter's camp on the west side of the Dolly Varden Creek. Couple of great swimming holes in the area. Layover day with an option to run to Schafer Airstrip. Day 5, go southeast on Chair Mountain Trilobites #241, a 2,000+-foot climb. Once up, alpine views everywhere, open meadows with wildflowers.
Follow trail 686 to junction with trail 241 and follow trail 241 to Trilobite Lakes. Trilobite Lakes are beautiful alpine lakes. Day 6, follow trail 241 to Dean Lake. Another alpine lake, great for a swim. Great view of Pentagon Mountain. Day 7, follow trail 241 to Switchback Pass and take trail 177 back down to trail 173 to complete the loop, and back to Pentagon Cabin. The trail from cresting out on Chair Mountain to Switchback Pass is all at or above treeline, displaying beautiful alpine views.
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Land Manager: USFS - Flathead National Forest Office
Nov 14, 2019: Crystal Cedar Project Near Columbia Falls Moves Forward