Hornet Lookout

Address: Off Whale Creek Road in the Flathead NF, North Fork Montana 59928— Get directions
Rostra rating: 3.5

This hike is rated mainly because it’s short, but beware. The total distance is about 2 miles round trip and the approximate time it takes to hike is 1.5 – 2 hours. You could be forgiven for thinking that since you start at the trailhead at 6,388 ft and climb to the top at 6,705 ft with total total ascent of 763 ft means that this is an easy hike. There are, in fact, some steep parts with a maximum possible gradient of over 14%. This means that you’re going to work for the summit.

Hornet Lookout Map

Having said that, though, Hornet Lookout is one of the first hikes we take every year once the snow has melted. It’s beautiful, fairly easy, and has that wonderful lookout structure at the top. It is also one of the hikes on which we always take out of town guests.

You get to the trailhead by driving up Whale Creek Road, a forest service road off the North Fork Road about 10 miles north of Polebridge, and following the signs to the trailhead. It’s quite the drive on which we’ve seen bear, grouse, and elk.

Although Hornet is no longer an active lookout, it is being maintained by the Forest Service as a rental cabin. Folks can reserve, get a door code, and spend the night on sleeping cots provided in the cabin. Be warned, though. You’ll need to take your own water and be prepared to use an outhouse.

2017 was a banner year for bear grass all over the North Fork and Glacier National Park.

Bear grass on the trail to Hornet Lookout

Hornet Lookout is just so cool and the Forest Service has done a wonderful job maintaining it.

Hornet Lookout. Cute, right?

Here are some of those purple mountains that we’ve been singing about lately. This is looking back towards the east, past the North Fork River and into Glacier National Park. What a view!

The view was all hazy and mysterious

The hike to Nasukoin mountain is one of our favorites. Viewing it from Hornet Lookout, we could see that there is still a lot of snow on Nasukoin.

Nasukoin mountain still had plenty of snow

Grouse are abundant throughout the Flathead National Forest. Here’s one that we found on the way to Hornet.

Look at the cute grouse

Cyclone Lookout
The hike to Cyclone Lookout is always one of the first we take each year. It's easy, the trail is well maintained, and the snow goes away sometime in June.
Address: Off Hay Creek Road in the Flathead NF, North Fork MT 59802— Get directions
Rostra rating: 3.5
Home Ranch Bottoms Saloon
HOME RANCH BOTTOMS HAS SOLD as of June 30, 2017. We've not yet had a chance to review the new place, so stay tuned!
Address: 8950 North Fork Road, Polebridge MT 59928— Get directions
Website: www.homeranchbottoms.com
Telephone: 406-888-5572
Email: hrbottoms@hotmail.com
Rostra rating: 3
Hornet Lookout
We consider a hike to Hornet Lookout as one of our beginning of the season warm ups. It's beautiful, it's fairly easy, and at a low enough elevation that you can probably hike it towards the end of June because the snow will be mostly gone.
Address: Off Whale Creek Road in the Flathead NF, North Fork Montana 59928— Get directions
Rostra rating: 3.5
Mount Thompson-Seton
Despite its difficulty (or perhaps because of it) we look forward to the hike to Mount Thompson-Seton every year, though. We train all through June and early July, taking hikes to Cyclone and even Tuchuck in preparation. Then in late July and August, we get an early start on the day and make our way to the summit of Thompson-Seton.
Address: Off Whale Creek Road in the Flathead NF, North Fork MT 59802— Get directions
Rostra rating: 4.5
Nasukoin Mountain
The hike to Nasukoin is without a doubt one of our favorites in the Whitefish Range of the Flathead National Forest.  It is in fact not one but three hikes where the first stop is Link Lake, next on up to Lake Mountain, and finally all the way up to the top of Nasukoin, the highest point in the Glacier View Ranger district.<br /> <br />
Address: Off Whale Creek Road in the Flathead NF, North Fork MT 59802— Get directions
Rostra rating: 4.5
Northern Lights Saloon
The bottom line is that without real professionals in the kitchen or the front of the house, the Saloon is well on its way to losing the vast majority of its local trade to Home Ranch Bottoms.
Address: 255 Polebridge Loop, Polebridge MT 59928— Get directions
Telephone: (406) 888-9963
Rostra rating: 2
Polebridge Mercantile and Bakery
Check your e-mail, drink Coffee Trader's Polebridge Blend, and buy souvenirs made by local artists at the Merc. But buy your bread and pastries from Uptown Hearth on the way out of Columbia Falls and eat at at Home Ranch Bottoms.
Address: 265 Polebridge Loop, Polebridge MT 59928— Get directions
Website: polebridgemerc.com
Telephone: (406) 888-5105
Rostra rating: 2
Thoma Lookout
This is a great hike with guests or alone. And the best part is that during July and August, you're almost sure to get to visit with Leif Haugen, Thoma's famous fire watcher.
Address: Off of Trail Creek Road in the Flathead NF, North Fork MT 59802— Get directions
Rostra rating: 4
Tuchuck Mountain
The hike to Tuchuck Mountain is long, hard, and hot, but the views make all that hard work worthwhile.
Address: Off Trail Creek Road in the Flathead NF, North Fork MT 59802— Get directions
Rostra rating: 4

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