Mt. Brown Lookout – 9.9mi / 15.9km
With close proximity to Lake McDonald Lodge, wonderful views of Lake McDonald can be expected, but they also must be earned. Taking the Sperry Trail right from the Lake McDonald Lodge parking lot, you will work your way up the densely wooded forest where views are limited at best.
After a little over 1.5mi/2.4km on that trail, the Mt. Brown Trail breaks off with an ominously steep slope. The steep grade of this hike rarely lets up over the next 3mi/4.8km until you reach the very top. As you climb, you enter a recent burn. Where trees once obscured views, Lake McDonald and its surrounding ridges can now be seen through the scorched trunks.
There is a wonderful stop halfway up the climb that looks up the Snyder Creek drainage, and another at approximately 3/4 of the way up the climb that looks up the McDonald Creek drainage.
From there, the trees become shorter and thin out until you reach a grassy ridge with panoramic views of the surrounding mountains including the rest of Mt. Brown (the lookout is not at the summit of the mountain).
Trailhead: Use the Sperry trailhead located across Going-to-the-Sun Road from Lake McDonald Lodge.
Elevation Gain/Loss: 4,200ft / 1,260m