Considered the loneliest lookout (but named after the mountain which was called by a Blackfoot word meaning “Lone Man” or “Lone Chief”) Loneman Lookout rarely receives visitors, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fantastic.
Accessibility to the lookout is one of the chief factors to this as it is in the remote southern section of Glacier National Park and is either a long walk along the South Boundary Trail or a ford of the Middle Fork of the Flathead River before you even start climbing the mountain. It’s nearest lookout neighbor is Scalplock Lookout and receives a lion’s share of the visitors.
The easiest way to the lookout is a fording of the Middle Fork at the Nyack Crossing, a walk through some trees which includes a ford of Nyack Creek. It then breaks out into an old burn and approaches the unsigned and subtle fork in the trail from the South Boundary Trail. Wonderful views of the mountains of the Middle Fork with Nyack Flats below. As the trail climbs on the southern aspect, better views west and north appear giving you a rare glimpse of the area just north of Belton Hills. Fall is an amazing time to hike to the lookout as colors are changing everywhere (including aspens in the flats).
Finally the trail begins a traverse through the double peaked summit and the lookout becomes visible. The traverse passes through the saddle and wraps around the peak in a counterclockwise direction giving rewarding views into the Nyack drainage and then the Harrison Creek drainage with Harrison Lake. Both of these drainages are surrounded by menacing peaks with an infinite view of peaks to the north becoming visible with each step. The top does not disappoint at all with an incredible panorama shared by few visitors to Glacier.
On this trip, we walked out to Lincoln Creek via the south boundary trail. Beautiful fall colors give this river walk a fantastic glow. Once you ford Harrison Creek, you encounter the Doody cabin with its old tractor, plow and spooky building that is falling apart. (great story to be read in “Wild River Pioneers” about the Doodys)
The area around Harrison Creek all the way over to Lincoln Creek is a favorite of elk… especially in the fall during rut. Elk can be heard bugling and they can be easily seen and smelled as they are particularly musky.
The ford by Lincoln Creek is a little tricky and deeper than others on the river and should be done with caution regardless of the time of year.
Overall, Loneman Lookout is a great hike and the South Boundary trail is a wonderful walk. Staying true to the south end of the park, don’t expect to encounter too many people.