One of the most relaxing and rewarding summer mountain experiences is taking a hike. Whether you are looking for a multi-hour trek or an unhurried wander in the woods our trails offer a mountain adventure for you and your troop. Hiking trails are located at different elevations on the mountain with trailheads at the summit, in the village and the Base Lodge.
Our lower mountain trails are located on lands owned by the resort, however the largest share of the mountain is part of the Flathead National Forest. All of our trails take you through forests consisting of Douglas fir, western larch, spruce, and fir trees as well as a variety of wildflowers. In late summer, plentiful huckleberries grow on the mountainsides and make for a delicious snack during your hike.
Danny On Trail
Our most popular hiking trail is the Danny On Memorial Hiking Trail. The core of this trail extends 3.8 miles from the village to the summit. Some hikers choose to hike in one direction, and use a Scenic Lift ride for the other. Along the trail and at the summit, hikers enjoy vistas of the Flathead Valley below them and long-distance views of Glacier National Park the Canadian Rockies and the Bob Marshall, Great Bear, Scapegoat, and Cabinet wilderness areas. The view from the top is 360 degrees of alpine splendor.
The Danny On Trail was dedicated as a memorial to Danny On, a Forest Service silviculturist (forest ecologist) and renowned nature photographer, conservationist and avid skier on The Big Mountain. Danny generously gave his time to teach novices about nature, photography, skiing and forestry. Danny died at the age of 55 in a skiing accident on The Big Mountain.
There are two other trails connected to the Danny On near the top of Big Mountain’s summit the East Rim trail and Flower Point Trail. Due to its length and elevation gain, the Danny On is considered a difficult trail. Our other trails, ranging from easy to moderate, are located around the lower mountain around the Upper Village and below the Base Lodge.
It is important to know that all hiking trails except the Danny On, East Rim and Flower Point are “multi-use” meaning that mountain bikers also are allowed to use them. While hikers do have the right-of-way, it is often easier for the hiker to stop and give way to a mountain biker. Be aware that you may encounter mountain bikers at any time on multi-use trails, please be considerate and remember to share the trail.
These hiking trail classifications are based on the time for an average hiker to complete the trail.
Easy – 15 to 45 minutes
Arnica Ridge .6 mile – A family-friendly hike from the Base Lodge to Jumping Rainbow Pond that meanders through the woods and features early season berry picking. Also connects to Gopher.
Speedwagon .6 miles – This trail connects the Base Lodge to the West Village and several lodging properties. Connects to Elk’s Club.
Crosstown Traffic /Slow Ride 1.1 miles – These two trails run parallel across the lower mountain connecting on their eastern edge. Crosstown begins/ends at the Upper Village trailhead and Slow Ride begins/ends in the Lift Plaza.
Moderate – 45 minutes to 2 hours
Gopher 2.7 miles – This double track road below the Base Lodge winds through the woods and around Stoltze’s Knob ending at Jumping Rainbow Pond. Also connects to the Bob Cedar trail.
Microclimate .4 mile – A singletrack trail “shortcut” on Gopher.
Bob Cedar 2 miles – This trail begins at Jumping Rainbow Pond and connects to the Gopher Trail. It is a double track with beautiful views, creek crossings and cedar trees.
Elks Club 3.4 miles – Up-and-back hike through the woods above the West Village into the Elk Highlands subdivision.
East Rim 1 mile – A short mountaintop hike, the East Rim Loop takes hikers from the summit around the East Rim ridge offering views of Glacier National Park and the Flathead Valley.
Flower Point 2.8 miles – If you get to the summit and don’t have the time to hike all the way down the Danny On, the Flower Point loop keeps you at higher elevation and offers a scenic hike through wildflower covered meadows and dense forest out to Flower Point for an idyllic view of the North Fork of Glacier National Park. Also popular for late season huckleberry picking.
Difficult – 2 hours plus
Danny On Trail 3.8 miles – Our signature hiking trail and the most popular hiking trail in the Flathead National Forest. Hike up and ride the Scenic Lift down or ride up and hike down.
Danny On with Flower Point Loop 5.6 miles – Add on the Flower Point Loop (see above for description) and gain mileage as well as taking in a few more views.
Be a Smart Hiker
KNOW THE CODE, IT’S YOUR RESPONSIBILITY
- Stay on designated trails
- Share the trail
- Pack it in, pack it out – garbage attracts bears
- Enjoy the flowers, but please don’t pick them
- Wear light hiking boots or non-slip shoes
- Wildlife: Whitefish Mountain Resort is home to deer, elk, mountain lions, coyote, weasels, wolves and bears. This is bear country with both grizzly and black bears appearing from time to time. Hikers should make their presence known on the trails by making noise. Never approach wildlife; even “tame” looking animals can be dangerous. The use of bear spray is allowed on the mountain and can be a deterrent in an animal attack.
- Water: Carry your own water. Water found near trails is NOT recommended for drinking. Giardia and other bacteria contaminate most mountain streams.
- Weather: Hikers should plan ahead, check weather forecasts and bring extra clothing along – jackets, hats, perhaps even gloves. Pay attention – the weather can change quickly.
- Altitude: Visitors from lower elevations, especially sea level, may feel the effects of altitude at the top of the mountain, including shortness of breath or dizziness. To reduce the effect, stay hydrated and take it easy.
- Fire danger: Fire danger can be extreme during the summer. Smoking is not recommended on hiking trails and, at times, is prohibited.
Huckleberry Picking Updates
Whitefish Mountain Resort is one of the most prolific and easy to access destinations for huckleberry picking in the northwest. Once the berries start showing up this summer, check here for updates on where to find the purple gold.
What to bring with you huckleberry picking:
- Container(s) in which to carry your huckleberries
- Water & snacks (at altitude it’s important to be well hydrated and fed)
- Sunscreen & rain gear (you know what they say about the weather, “Wait 15 minutes it will change”)
- Bear spray (if you are picking hucks you are by definition in bear country)
- A friend (someone you can chat with and help keep the bears aware of your presence)
July 26th, 2016
For those new to berry picking—the wild and delicious huckleberry starts to ripen at lower elevations first and then works its way up the mountain. Right now hucks are starting to show themselves on the lower mountain (around 5,000 feet in elevation). On a recent recon mission our scouts found ripe berries along the lower part of the Danny On in the forest where you hike up the first switchbacks. Additionally the Walk in the Treetops guides say the huckleberries are in full force along their trail, as well as other edible berries such as Saskatoons (a.k.a. serviceberry), twisted stalk and thimble berries. You can learn all about how to identify all of these berries—while sampling—during a Walk in the Treetops tour. (While supplies last.)
Stay tuned to our huckdates for the latest on their progress.