Scalplock Lookout

Scalplock Lookout is a staffed lookout located in the southern section of Glacier National Park. The trailhead starts at the Walton Ranger Station by Essex, MT and heads up a treed trail for about 5 miles to the lookout. Views really don’t open up until about a half mile from the lookout, but when they do, it’s unsurprisingly grand and beautiful. There are great views into the Middle Fork of the Flathead River to the south, Ole Creek drainage to the East and Park Creek drainage as well as a sea of mountain peaks that make up Glacier National Park to the Northwest. The ridge line is a typical alpine zone in Glacier that sports numerous species of wildflowers in great quantities. The grade is fairly steady and while I wouldn’t consider it an easy grade for a lookout, it doesn’t fall into the strenuous category either.

Scalplock Lookout

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3 responses to “Scalplock Lookout”

  1. Mike Kinsella Avatar
    Mike Kinsella

    My friend Carol was the lookout on Scalplock for several summers in the 90’s and I finally got around to hiking up for a visit. On the way, I caught up to a couple from New Jersey, snickering to myself at all their bear bells. Naturally, they quizzed me about the possibility of running into grizzlies. I told them that I had hiked in Glacier for 15 years and never run into a bear. As I headed up the trail, I had not gone 20 paces when I stepped over a big steaming mound of bear poop full of huckleberries. I turned around and said: “On the other hand….”

    After eating their lunch at the lookout, they headed down ahead of me and as luck would have it, saw the grizzly on tne trail. I never saw it, so my record was intact. They had a great story to tell when they got home, and probably featured prominently was the moron from Montana who told them not to worry about bears!

    Good courtesy tip about not asking a lookout for a drink of water. All of the water they have, they probably had to carry 500 feet up from the nearest spring on their back.

    1. Ha! Typical huh? You say your record was intact… did you ever break it?

      1. Mike Kinsella Avatar
        Mike Kinsella

        We have never actually run into a grizzly on the trail. We turned back on the Piegan Pass trail because someone else had seen a sow and cub 1/4 mile ahead (I lost the vote to continue). We also had to cancel an Iceberg Lake hike because the trail was closed due to bear activity. Twice we watched grizzlies through binoculars from Granite Park Chalet. Once we watched a griz for 1/2 hour only 20 yards from the North Fork Road.near Polebridge.

        This summer my daughter and I saw 9 different black bears near Waterton, but all from in or near the car.

        So by my daughters’ criteria, we have been lucky. By my own, including the Scalplock hike, I have been unlucky!

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