Mount Sentinel via Pengelly Ridge

Normally, I think of Mount Sentinel has the M with its constant flow of folks making their way to the whitewashed concrete letter, but Mount Sentinel is a large area with an extensive network of trails. On a sunny day, Vida and I decided to tackle the slope from Pengelly Ridge to the top, and we (for the most) had the trail to ourselves. Pengelly Ridge is largely a grass-covered slope that steeply ascends to the apex of the mountain. Once we reached the top, we continued down the Missoula-facing slope to the top of the M, and from here we took the Mount Sentinel Fire trail to our starting point. The most interesting feature on this hike is the copper mine, yep a copper mine was active on the slopes of Mount Sentinel in the 1890s. Not exactly the Richest Hill on Earth (that’s in Butte), the mine seems to have been a short-lived venture.

Total distance: 7.66 mi
Max elevation: 5157 ft
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Great hike on grassy slopes of Mount Sentinel

Great hike on grassy slopes of Mount Sentinel

Starting the Pengelly Ridge trail

Starting the Pengelly Ridge trail

Marker at the highest shoreland of Glacial Lake Missoula

Marker at the highest shoreland of Glacial Lake Missoula

Interesting paint rock at the base of a pine

Interesting paint rock at the base of a pine

Vida climbing...again

Vida climbing…again

Top of Pengelly Ridge

Top of Pengelly Ridge

Mount Sentinel Summit

Mount Sentinel Summit

Lone ponderosa pine on the slopes above the M

Lone ponderosa pine on the slopes above the M

Coming down the Sentinel Summit trail

Coming down the Sentinel Summit trail

University of Montana campus and Missoula

University of Montana campus and Missoula

Entrance to the 1890 copper mine

Entrance to the 1890 copper mine

Vida just had to explore the old mine shaft

Vida just had to explore the old mine shaft

Melissa Blue

Melissa Blue

Mount Sentinel Fire Road trail crosses the face of the slope

Mount Sentinel Fire Road trail crosses the face of the slope

Racer on the trail...first one of the year

Racer on the trail…first one of the year

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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