Sweetgrass Hills

Even though Glacier is the focal point, the Flathead and the surrounding area presents boundless activities, talk about it here.

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Sweetgrass Hills

Postby llholmes1948 » Fri May 05, 2017 7:39 am

the Great Falls Tribune has an interesting gallery of photos of the Sweetgrass Hills area:

http://www.greatfallstribune.com/pictur ... 101287696/

Are there any hiking trails there? You can see these hills from the Amtrak Empire Builder and I assume from U.S. 2 also. I was in Sweetgrass and Coutts on the bus years ago but unfortunately I didn't pay much attention to these hills at the time.

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Re: Sweetgrass Hills

Postby Ear Mountain » Fri May 05, 2017 9:19 am

There are no actual "hiking" trails that I'm aware of. Much of the country is open. Some is private and some is BLM land. While there are no trails some people do hunt or hike in the Sweetgrass hills. A couple of caveats before you head there.

West Butte is the easiest of the Hills to access. At least one road there is pretty good gravel and can be driven most of the time. East and Gold Butte are more remote. Roads are mostly tracks across the prairie and may be impassable when wet due to the Gumbo soil. Even a four wheel drive vehicle will have problems with gumbo.

Land ownership varies. Make sure you have a good map and find out the land ownership. Get permission from land owners before accessing private property.
Ear Mountain Photography.
Text and photos Copyright 2007-2012.
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Re: Sweetgrass Hills

Postby orin » Fri May 05, 2017 1:14 pm

I grew up in the area and had long wondered what those 3 hills on the northern horizon would be like to climb. Long story short, after a high school reunion a few years ago I drove up to Sunburst and headed straight East to the base of West Butte, the highest of the three. Ignoring Ear Mountains good advice I hopped a barbed wire fence, walked across a pasture and took the path of least resistance to the top. It was a couple of thousand feet of elevation gain across scree and through patches of trees. There were bits of trail in places. Strenuous but not at all technical. The view from the top was better than I had hoped for, especially the view west towards Glacier and the Rocky Mountain front. It would be a bit out of the way for most people visiting Glacier but it was a fun climb.
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