Belly River (Montana)

Belly River (Montana) in MT, USA

This trail was given a rating of 2 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 2 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 2 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 2 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 2 out of 5 stars
9 miles
Fall, Summer
US City
User bfcoffey
Elevation Gain: 24 m (80 ft)

Elevation Loss: 247 (809 ft)

This is an easy, although uneventful trail in Glacier National Park leading from the Chief Mountain border crossing, down to the Belly River valley and back (or beyond). Although there are some magnificent mountain views from the valley floor, the trail stays mainly away from the Belly River and follows along through a scrub aspen forest. There are a few little side trails down to the river and this trail would have been much nicer had it run closer to the river.

We actually gave up on the trail about 5km in. If you do go farther you can connect with the Gable Pass trail and several backcountry campgrounds.

The real downside to this trail was the condition of the trail. Even though this is a national park trail, it was in terrible condition. It had rained about 4 days earlier but the trail was still a mud bog. What makes it so bad is that pack trains are used to supply the backcountry, and the horses chew up the trail. Being a lower elevation trail, there is little rock to hold the trail together. so the horses dig up the trail, the water sits in the holes, and on and on...

Another smaller downside - it's downhill (about 800') in the morning, so it's uphill in the heat of the day (usually reversed).

This could be a very nice hike in the fall, when the leaves change and the elk are bugling, but for summer, and especially for spring, I would pass on this trail, unless you're using it as a means to somewhere further in.

Don't ever complain about rocky trails. At least they dry out and hold together.


The trailhead is about 100m south of the Chief Mountain border crossing, about 20km south of Waterton Lakes National Park. For this trail you won't need a pass for Glacier National Park.

Please check the bottom of the Description (above left; click) for the author's written directions.

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