Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
1,300.00 ft (396.24 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
4.62 mi (7.44 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The U.S. West Trail on Mount Jumbo is a familiar sight to drivers on Interstate 90 through Missoula. The trail sticks out on the southeast flank of Mount Jumbo, paralleling the north side of the interstate.  

The trail connects Missoula and East Missoula, much like the interstate does. The route provides a short but challenging trail that’s fun to do after work or to use as a connection in a much bigger adventure. Great views of Hellgate Canyon, including Mount Sentinel and the Clark Fork River, line much of the entire path. 

The trail on the Missoula side starts at Cherry Street, on the north side of the train tracks from the University of Montana campus. This is the same trailhead for those looking to hike to the white, concrete “L” emblazoned onto the mountainside. 

Starting from the Cherry Street Trailhead, the U.S. West Trail begins with a moderate elevation climb. After passing the junction for the “L” trail, U.S. West Trail continues to climb until reaching its steepest portion that parallels a row of utility poles. 

At approximately 1.3 miles, hikers encounter a fork in the trail. To the right, the trail switchbacks down to a Highton Street Trailhead in East Missoula. To the left, hikers can continue on the side of the mountain on the Hidden Trail. 

The Hidden Trail extends for an additional mile into East Missoula. It begins with an initial climb before steadily heading downhill to a neighborhood trailhead on Discovery Way. Hidden Trail offers extended views into East Missoula, including prominent looks at University Mountain behind Sentinel. 

Heading back the other way, the elevation flips, and hikers experience the steepness in both directions. A round trip on the U.S. West and Hidden Trails covers less than five miles but over 1,300 feet of total elevation gain. The view on the way back to Cherry Street features excellent vantage points of downtown Missoula and the Clark Fork River.

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Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

No

Open from

May 01 to December 01

Pros

Easy to access. Uncrowded trail. Great after-work hike.

Cons

Very steep in some sections.

Trailhead Elevation

3,258.00 ft (993.04 m)

Highest point

3,748.00 ft (1,142.39 m)

Features

Wildlife
Family friendly
Big vistas
Bird watching
Wildflowers

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

No

Location

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Flathead lake + Mission Range, Montana
Flathead lake + Mission Range, Montana

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