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Mount Brown Lookout


A journey along a crazy steep trail with absolutely no reprieve leads to a well worthwhile viewpoint

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Out and Back

7,428' 2,264 m


3,225' 983 m


4,203' 1,281 m


4,203' 1,281 m



Avg Grade (9°)


Max Grade (23°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Lake · Views · Wildflowers


This route includes travel on a very demanding trail. It climbs and climbs and climbs. There are no level spots on the trail! Wonderful views throughout make all of that effort worthwhile though!

Need to Know

Bring plenty of water, there is no opportunity to replenish.


This trail climbs nearly 5,000 feet in five miles, so it's a strenuous ascent. There are wonderful views of Lake McDonald along the way. Be well prepared as there is no water along the way and zero flat ground.

At about mile three, you'll come to the first significant viewpoint. From here, there are great views of the surrounding mountains. You'll really be able to appreciate how much you've been climbing, as the views have changed, even from McDonald Lake. Once you've caught your breath, continue along the trail. At about 4.4 miles, you'll reach another great viewpoint and stopping spot. About a half mile later, you get the first view of the Lookout. This is about the area I ran into the goats.

I was ultimately cut short of reaching the lookout due to two mountain goats who blocked the trail and were rather aggressive. They forced my retreat about a quarter mile from the lookout. They actually followed me down the trail for a third of a mile or so, and there was no way around them. The appearance of these goats is a good reminder to respect the wildlife in the park. Don't get too close to ANY of the full-time residents of the park.

Visit hike734.com for more expert Glacier content and maps that help you decide which trail to hike.

Flora & Fauna

You'll enjoy typical alpine natives such as pine, pika, marmots, and even mountain goats.


Shared By:

Craig DiCarlo with improvements by Matthew Dullea

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 15 votes


  4.5 from 15 votes
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in Montana


3 Views Last Month
2,685 Since Jul 1, 2016



Star trails over Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park, Montana.
Oct 4, 2016 near Red Roc…, MT
Another shot of the protectors of the trail.
Jul 1, 2016 near Red Roc…, MT
Goats preventing me from continuing up the trail. They followed me down for about a quarter mile.
Jul 1, 2016 near Red Roc…, MT
Mount Brown Trail in Glacier National Park.
Jun 10, 2016 near Red Roc…, MT
Lake McDonald is seen to the west when descending the switchbacks.
Sep 17, 2022 near Red Roc…, MT


Current Trail Conditions

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Oct 11, 2021
Tom Herr
Steady, steep switchbacks most of the way. This was hard! Largely through a forest burned in the 2017 Sprague Fire. Saw a bald and a golden eagle. 10.3mi
Oct 11, 2020
Emily Gray
Aug 11, 2020
Kelly Ufford
started at 7:40, junction by 8:40, and look out by 11:15. stayed 45m, back to junction by 1:30, th by 2:10 — 7h 30m
Jul 12, 2020
Audrey K
6h 30m
Jun 28, 2020
Sierah Cain
Was good conditions, still a little snow at the top. Saw three toed and black backed wood peckers, and 5 mountain goats. Lots of pretty wildflowers… 10.3mi — 16h 30m
Aug 2, 2018
Brianna Hawthorne
Completed the hardest hike in glacier alongside Cassidy, Heidi, Brandon, Majesty, Becca and David. Spent 3 hours napping at the top
Jul 12, 2018
Mags Carvalho
Amazing lookout totally worth it. Our gps said 12 mikes not 10.5 12mi
Jul 4, 2018
Brittany Cuff
Great hike with wonderful views. Very tiring though so start early in the day. Beware of bears.