A long tough hike to a prominent Missoula peak marking the southern edge of the Rattlesnake's high-country lakes. Note the elevation above is for the saddle below the peak. Add about another 350 feet if you plan to reach the summit.
The Stuart Peak trail starts at the main trailhead, then up Spring Gulch before a change in grade and a steady climb to the top. (Consider riding your bike these first three miles and stashing it off trail. You will really appreciate it on the way out.) After leaving Spring Gulch there is little if any water, so plan accordingly. A series of shallow switchbacks prior to the wilderness boundary may make the total distance a little farther than advertised. At the wilderness boundary it’s an easy final two miles or so along the ridge before reaching a saddle overlooking Twin Lakes. There is no shame in having lunch at the saddle and heading back, but it’s a pretty easy 20 minute scramble to the top of Stuart Peak. Dropping down to Twin Lakes is tempting too, but of course you have to climb out. Twin Lakes is a popular camping spot and makes a great base camp for exploring the Rattlesnake’s backcountry.