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How Many Switchbacks to the ‘M’ on Mount Sentinel?

Photo courtesy of Flickr/patia

The “M’ on Mount Sentinel in Missoula is one of the most popular hiking trails in Montana, but how many switchbacks must you hike before you get to the top?

Mount Sentinel is what the locals consider “Missoula’s Mountain.” No matter what side of town you are on, you can almost always spot the concrete “M” located near to peak. It boasts unbelievable views of the Missoula Valley.

To hike to the “M”, you can expect a ¾ mile trek that will take you approximately 20 minutes. If you are really looking to push yourself, make the full hike to the summit which will be a 1 and ¾ mile excursion and will take you about 1 hour to reach.

Related: Best Missoula Hiking Destinations

Even if you are not in shape, you will probably be able to tackle the mountain as the hike is considered mildly strenuous. The trailhead is located behind the University football stadium on Campus Drive. The trailhead is well marked and also offers a decent sized parking lot.

There are 13 switchbacks from the base of the mountain near the University of Montana, to the infamous concrete letter “M”. With an elevation of 620 feet, the zig zag path to the top of Mount Sentinel is not for the faint at heart.

But if you can endure this grueling trek, you simply won’t find a better view of the city of Missoula anywhere else.

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