Lantern Ridge viewed from Carlton Point.

Michael Hoyt

Lantern Ridge viewed from Carlton Point.

Generally a destination for backcountry skiers—most often on their way to the higher slopes of Lolo Peak—this highpoint seldom receives visits from hikers and climbers. However, area hunters spend time in this area each year searching for those elusive trophy ungulates.

The best route to this highpoint begins at the Mill Creek Trailhead just off Highway 12. Follow the Mill Creek Trail south only until the junction with a pack trail—a connecting trail which climbs the ridge on its way to join with the trail following the South Fork of Lolo Creek. Following the pack trail (go right at the junction) to an elevation near 6,500’ saves energy which would otherwise be spent bushwhacking. After leaving the established trail, it’s a simple matter of hiking southward and uphill through the forest along the ridge-crest until you reach the highpoint of Lantern Ridge (8,058).

For those seeking a different way to reach Lolo Peak’s two summits, this is a good choice. However, because overlooks are limited along this path, it’s easy to understand why this route is mostly used by backcountry skiers.

Michael Hoyt

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