As the snow continues to recede, we’ve been finding more places to hike for views. We headed up the Sperry Trail and took the trail to Mt Brown Lookout. In the past, trees obscured much of the views as you steeply climbed, but the burn from a couple of years ago has really improved the vantages as you stop and catch your breath.
With the forecast calling for some afternoon thundershowers, we headed out early and hit the trail under the morning sun. The trail heads out from Lake McDonald Lodge. You can actually see the lookout from the parking lot which is fun because you can look back down when you get to the top!
The lush rainforest is always a delight and the Twinflower were in full bloom carpeting rotting logs. It doesn’t take long for the trail to begin to climb and ascend from the wet rainforest to a more temperate spruce/fir forest.
Snyder Creek babbled below as we got our first little vantage of Lake McDonald from above, then more switchbacks. The recent burn soon became evident and wildflowers popped up all around the black and silver trunks of trees. Birds sang and butterflies pollinated (and a few mosquitos tried to bite).
At approximately 1.5 miles, we turned off onto the Mt. Brown Lookout Trail and began the steep ascent. In the past, as you stopped and caught your breath, you would be enjoying the forest, but not much for views until you made it up high enough for a nice view of Mt Edwards and up the Snyder Creek drainage. Now, however, you have increasing views as you climb up. Lake McDonald, Snyder Ridge with Fish Lake, and Howe Ridge and the mountains at the head of the lake are now visible, albeit through the dead snags from the old fire.
We frequently stopped to enjoy the filtered views and found a mountain goat foraging along the trail, then another three foraging just a bit further. The trees got shorter, the flowers changed as did the views. As we entered the more sub-alpine areas, we reached another great vantage that looks way up the McDonald Creek drainage. From there, we could spy the lookout as well as Lake McDonald Lodge tucked along the shores of the lake far below.
From here each step opens up to grander views as the trees get shorter then almost completely disappear. We finally ascended the ridge to grand views in all directions. The lookout is a lazy walk from here and Mt Brown itself stood dramatically in front of us while the sound of water cascading filled the mountains.
While the last bit is a lazy stroll, the lingering snow made for some tricky footing, but we finally made it to the lookout. The brewing storm clouds and the mountain goat up on the lookout prevented us from having lunch on the catwalk of the lookout.
We took some pictures and threw on some jackets and descended. The rain started, but only for a short spell before moving on. As we continued down, the skies cleared back up and the southern aspect of the trail revealed the other side of losing trees, and that is the lack of shade.
While the trail now has views, it also can be toasty in the sun, so earlier starts on warmer days is highly recommended. Overall a great day with splendid views, great birds, and