Saint Mary Peak is one of the 9,000 feet plus peaks in the Bitterroot Range. The is a well-worn trail to the summit gains nearly 2500 feet in 3.6 miles. Jeff and I attacked this trail for our Tuesday afternoon hike, and after much effort, we reached the summit where we were treated to views of the Heavenly Twins, McCalla Lakes, and the entire Bitterroot Range. And, for Christ’s sake, it is Saint Mary Peak, not St. Mary’s Peak!
Take US Hwy 93 for 3.6 miles from Stevensville to Indian Prairie Loop. Look for Forest Service Trailhead signs (they will be hiding in plain sight). Turn right and travel 1.3 miles to St. Mary road. Turn right again and go for .5 mile, taking the first left onto FR 739, which is well marked.
At the fork in about a mile, take the right fork. Keep on this gravel road for a shade over 10 miles to its end (complete with a shitter).
- Trail: St. Mary Peak Trail #116
- Distance: 3.6 miles
- Elevation Gain: 2472 feet
The trail maintains a steady and steep incline for the entire 3.6 length. You break into a huge krummholz area with stunted whitebark pines. On the ridge preceding the summit, you find true alpine habitat.