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Mount Jumbo & Jumbo Backbone

Hike a prominent summit and enjoy some peaceful forests

Hiking Difficult

11 km
745 m
745 m
3-4 hrs
Low Point
986 m
High Point
1.5 km
Mount Jumbo & Jumbo Backbone Map

This is an exceptional hike right on the edge of Missoula city centre. It combines a summit with some open meadows and dense, peaceful forests to create a varied and classic Montana trip.


The trip begins with a hike up to the famous Missoula L - a well known local landmark. The Missoula L commemorates Loyola Sacred Heart Catholic High School, that sits at the bottom of the trail. There are a couple of spots at which to park before starting the hike to the L, but regardless of which one you choose, the trail is super obvious and well marked. All the way up to the L the trail is smooth and easy to hike.

The hike is slightly easier than the trip to the Missoula M but it's still more than enough to get you breathing hard! Keep on grinding and before you know it you'll be looking out over downtown Missoula and its northern suburbs. The L, like the M on the neighbouring hillside, is pretty impressive close up, and is much bigger than it looks from below.

You'll be able to pick out many Missoula landmarks from the L, and taking a bit of time to do so is a recommended use of 5 minutes. Just sitting and admiring the scenery isn't a bad idea either!

Continuing up from the L the trail is much rougher than the lower section, and the gradient remains steep. As you near the summit of Mount Jumbo the gradient begins to mellow, before steepening again as the trail descends into the forests to the north. After the open terrain on the lower slopes of Mount Jumbo, the forests below it provide a nice contrast but there are some STEEP sections of trail them, so be prepared to work hard on the journey back up to the summit!

The forested trails end at a beautiful, wide pass which feels exactly how you want Montana to. From the pass, climb back to the top of Mount Jumbo and then follow the longer but more aesthetic South Face trail back down to the parking lot.



Hiking trails where obstacles such as rocks or roots are prevalent. Some obstacles can require care to step over or around. At times, the trail can be worn and eroded. The grade of the trail is generally quite steep, and can often lead to strenuous hiking.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.


3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

between May and October


  • Wildlife
  • Picturesque
  • Summit Hike
  • Dog friendly
  • Wild flowers
  • Family friendly
  • Forestry or heavy vegetation

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area