Hidden Montana: Northern Cabinets Thru-Hike 

The secret: Explore a new route across one of America’s most beautiful—and overlooked—ranges.

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Author: themapeditor
Date: 26 Apr 2013 9:50:41 PM
Source: GPX file
Activity: Not Specified
State: Montana (MT)
Distance: 30.75 mi  (Change units)
Difficulty: 5 / 10
Tags: Green Acres, Montana
Rating: Unrated   Rate it

 Our Scouts recently hiked this 31-mile point-to-point to test it as a leg of the proposed 1,500-mile Inland Northwest Trail. Their advice? Pack extra supplies on this three- to five-day trip to account for rugged terrain, routefinding, and the inevitable urge to drift into long, daydreamy naps among the paradise of peaks. Start by hiking up Trail 141 to Cedar Lake. At .8 mile, continue onto the Scenery Mountain Trail (383) across the ridges of Scenery and Grambauer Mountains, climbing 3,900 feet before descending to Upper Cedar Lake (mile 9.4). Camp on the shelf beneath the banded walls of Dome Mountain’s north face. In the morning, cross North Parmenter Pass on Trail 139, then drop 2,200 feet in 2 miles to a junction with Minor Lake Trail (317). Head south from Minor Lake, climbing 3.3 miles over the Parmenter Creek Cutoff to Sky Lakes, a verdant zone of moss-covered and thickly forested slopes. For an on-trail loop, pick up Trail 360 2 miles north of Sky Lakes and follow it 6.3 miles to Upper Cedar Lake. The off-trail point-to-point climbs south from Sky Lake to the saddle between points 7,434 and 7,701. Summit point 7,701, then hike 4 ridgeline miles along Pine Ridge, where pocket meadows make for scenic camping. At the saddle above the headwaters of Contact Creek, drop southwest down talus, meadow, and pine forest to intersect Trail 972 where Verdun Creek joins the North Fork Bull River (1.8 miles southwest of Wishbone Lake). Head downcanyon 4.5 miles to the trailhead.

TO TRAILHEAD: Shuttle: 37 miles southwest of Libby; 48.202825, -115.813408; Trailhead: 7 miles northeast of Libby; 48.409662, -115.663977

Position Format: Datum:


Distance: 30.75 mi Points: 2367
Total Time: none Speed: 0.0 mph Pace: 0:00 / mi
Active Time: none Speed: 0.0 mph Pace: 0:00 / mi

Points of Interest


Location: 48.409662, -115.663977
Beginning trailhead. Hike west on Trail 141.


Location: 48.410916, -115.679555
Turn R onto Trail 649/383


Location: 48.416612, -115.715089
Scenery Mountain (6,876 ft.)


Location: 48.402825, -115.746031
Grambauer Mountain (7,377 ft.)


Location: 48.401357, -115.748606
Stay south on the use trail, routefinding south to Cedar Lakes.


Location: 48.376435, -115.746374
Find a dispersed campsite under the banded walls of Dome Mountain's north face. Next morning, take Trail 139 up and over Parmenter Pass.


Location: 48.372772, -115.743692
Parmenter Pass


Location: 48.370078, -115.708051
Turn R onto Minor Lake Trail (317).


Location: 48.349747, -115.725088
Minor Lakes, dispersed camping available.


Location: 48.322154, -115.713304
Sky Lakes, a good camping option. Head south, off trail, to the saddle between points 7,434 and 7,701.


Location: 48.311686, -115.716290
Saddle. Traverse west below the summit of point 7,701 to the southern ridge. Pocket meadsow provide good camping for the next 4 miles.


Location: 48.249743, -115.715968
Turn southwest and routefind down talus, meadow, and pine forest to intersection Trail 972.


Location: 48.243625, -115.744143
Intersect Trail 972. Follow it south 4.5 miles to the trailhead.


Location: 48.202825, -115.813408
Ending trailhead.

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