Nestled in the forests, Reservoir Trail in Whitefish, Montana offers a serene and enchanting experience for hikers and mountain bikers alike. I recently embarked on this adventure with my baby, Parks, eager to explore the wonders of this trail.
In this blog post, I will share my firsthand account of the Reservoir Trail hike, from the breathtaking wildflower-filled clearings to the decision-making moments at the trail forks.
Reservoir Trail Overview
The trailhead is located on Reservoir Road, north of Whitefish at the base of Big Mountain. It’s part of the Whitefish Trail System.
The Reservoir Trail in Whitefish, Montana starts with an uphill climb and winds through the lush greenery of towering trees. The well-maintained path provides a sense of tranquility and peace, making it an ideal destination for families and beginners. Thanks to strategically placed switchbacks, the elevation gain is very manageable, ensuring a pleasant hiking experience for all skill levels.
Reservoir Trail Terrain
The first .3 miles of the trail was the most challenging incline. Don’t let it scare you. As we continued our ascent, the trail led us through a captivating forested area, adorned with nature’s artistry of dappled sunlight and chirping birds.
The dense canopy of trees offered ample shade, which is a welcome relief on warmer days.
Soon, the path opened up to reveal a breathtaking field of wildflowers. I was struck by a single pink Meadow Thistle in the meadow filled with tall green grass and white and yellow wildflowers. This simple, yet natural, spectacle was one of the highlights of our hike, leaving us in awe of the beauty that Montana’s wilderness had to offer.
Reservoir Trail Pros and Cons
While Reservoir Trail is a delightful hike, there are a few aspects to consider for those planning to venture on this path. One notable concern was the presence of unleashed dogs. While dogs are allowed to be off-leash on some portions of the trail, it is posted that they should be leashed for the first mile and a half of the hike.
Although most dog owners were respectful and quickly called back their pets, encountering a barking group of dogs at the outset was a bit unnerving for Parks and me.
Another minor drawback was the lack of clear signage at the trail forks. Our uncertainty led us to initially take a path that seemed to lead back down the mountain. Nevertheless, we quickly retraced our steps and opted to go left, continuing our exploration of this charming trail.
We started our hike at 8 a.m. when there were only two other cars in the parking lot. By the time we turned back and called it a day at 9:30 a.m., the parking lot had about 12 cars in it. It’s a popular trail and seems to get busier as the day wears on. If you’re looking for a secluded trail, this isn’t it.
On the upside, the Reservoir Trail offers a manageable and enjoyable hike, even with a baby in tow. The slight incline and elevation gain, though noticeable, did not pose significant challenges.
The scenery along the way, from the lush forested sections to the vibrant wildflower fields, made the journey utterly rewarding.
There is also vault toilet at the trailhead, which is always a nice bonus.
Hiking the Reservoir Trail in Whitefish, Montana, proved to be a memorable and delightful adventure, particularly with Baby Parks as my hiking buddy. The trail’s initial uphill stretch was easily managed with the help of switchbacks, leading us through a serene forest setting. The breathtaking field of wildflowers left an indelible mark on our hearts, showcasing nature’s beauty in all its glory.
Despite encountering a few unleashed dogs and facing a moment of uncertainty at one of the trail forks, the overall experience was positive and fulfilling.
Reservoir Trail, with its easy-to-moderate level of difficulty, offers a perfect escape into nature for families and beginners alike. Just over 5 miles in total, it’s a trail that allows you to hike as much or as little of it as you’re comfortable with. Simply turn around when you’re ready and enjoy the views all the way back.
Whether you seek a tranquil hike amidst the soothing shade of trees or a floral spectacle that will take your breath away, Reservoir Trail is a great choice. Embrace the beauty of this hidden gem in the heart of Montana and create cherished memories of adventure with your loved ones.