Getting out before the storm: Saint Mary Peak

Atop Saint Mary Peak is a fire lookout that has seen the Roaring Lion Fire and hundreds of lightning strikes in the past few weeks. The hike to the top of this peak starts at a lofty 6800 feet, and well-traveled trail gains another 2500 feet to the summit. From the peak, the Bitterroot Mountains stretch in the distance and the Bitterroot Valley sits far below.

On this Sunday, the temperature was unseasonable cool at 53 degrees at the trailhead and hovering around 40 degrees at the summit. The wind was whipping as a massive monsoon-like front was crashing into the Bitterroots from the southwest.

Total distance: 7.41 mi
Max elevation: 9357 ft
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The view into the Bitterroot Valley and the Roaring Lion Fire

The view into the Bitterroot Valley and the Roaring Lion Fire

Entering the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness Area

Entering the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness Area

Saint Mary Peak Lookout and krummholz whitebark pine

Saint Mary Peak Lookout and krummholz whitebark pine

Osborne Fire Finder in the Saint Mary Peak Lookout

Osborne Fire Finder in the Saint Mary Peak Lookout

The view, man, the view for the lookout

The view, man, the view for the lookout

Friendly with a capital F

Friendly with a capital F

Panoramic view of the Bitterroot Range and the Heavenly Twins

Panoramic view of the Bitterroot Range and the Heavenly Twins

The monsoon-like storm starting to bear down on us as we descend

The monsoon-like storm starting to bear down on us as we descend

Written by Radd Icenoggle

I am a native Montanan, who has spent a lifetime as an outdoors and wildlife enthusiast. I earned a degree in biology with an emphasis on habitat relations. During my studies, I had the great fortune to research and compose a thesis that explored the effects of slope aspect on...
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