Desert Mountain

August 21, 2019


Kalispell / Columbia Falls, MT

Desert Mtn. is one of the lowly, but prominent summits near Kalispell west of the fabled Glacier National Park. A service road runs from the plain all the way to the summit, and unlike many service roads this one has no gate and is drivable by regular 4×4 vehicles. Adam and I made a spontaneous decision to bag this “P2K” by a complete motorized ascent. I think Adam’s Subaru really wanted to make a summit. The road was navigated by Google Map app along with Gaia GPS as a secondary source. The road became rough and slanted near the top but was still in a reasonable shape. Adam actually drove all the way to the very top on a short spur and made a delicate turn-around on the summit.

Desert Mountain drive-up. GPX DL

Great Northern Mountain from partway up the drive

A view looking south towards Great Northern Mountain from the summit

Partial Summit Panorama from Desert Mountain. Click to view large size.

Adam’s Subaru on the summit of Desert Mountain

We then decided to drive to Belton Point a tiny way down the north side for some views, but some drunk kids showed up in their trucks with abnormal behaviour. Not wanting to fuck around with them we immediately turned around and drove back down. We met another truck of drunk kids but thankfully managed to squeeze by without confrontation.

A northern panorama from Belton Point. Click to view large size.

That night we drove to a quiet parking lot near Hungary Horse and pitched the tent out. It was extremely humid that we couldn’t fall asleep. Then thunder and lighting came and it soon became a downpour, then the police showed up with their headlights saying we couldn’t camp there (day-use only). We actually noticed that day-use sign earlier in the evening but decided to risk it. The police were very nice that they didn’t force us to move because of the weather, so we went back to sleep, a rather dramatic ending of an averaged day.