Mount Jumbo Wildlife Closure Begins December 1

Fast Facts

  • Most of Mount Jumbo closes to recreational use during the winter months to protect wintering elk.
  • The North Zone, including areas north of the Saddle Road, will be closed December 1 to May 1.
  • Jumbo’s South Zone, south of the Saddle Road, will be closed December 1 to March 15.
  • The “L” and I-90 trails remain open all year, and dogs must be leashed during the winter closure.
  • Parks and Recreation is seeking volunteers for the “Elk Spotters” program.

elk in snow1Wintery weather brings Mount Jumbo’s own special elk herd back to its traditional winter range. When winter snows deplete forage at higher elevations, about 75 elk move to Jumbo’s lower slopes to feed. To help increase the herd’s chance for winter survival, critical areas of the mountain are closed seasonally to recreational use.

Mount Jumbo’s North Zone, from the Saddle Road to the north, is closed from December 1 until May 1. The South Zone, from the Saddle Road south to I-90, will be closed from December 1 to March 15. Maps and more information are available at The Saddle Road is located at the north end of Lincoln Hills Drive. About 50 elk have recently been spotted in Jumbo’s North Zone.

Several trails on Mount Jumbo are open all year, including the U.S. West road above I-90 and the “L” trail, both of which are accessible at the Cherry Street trailhead. Short trail sections beginning at Hidden Trail in East Missoula and Marshall Canyon will also remain open. The short section of road linking Upper Lincoln Hills Drive with Tamarack Street and the 40 acres below the road are also open all year. Dogs must be leashed on Mount Jumbo during the winter closure.

Trespassing during the wildlife closure is prohibited by law and violators may be fined up to $500. Please call 911 to report violations. If possible, please provide a description of the person and/or his vehicle and license plate number.

Winter hikers can enjoy the numerous trails, scenic views and varied terrain on the North Hills, Mount Sentinel, Rattlesnake Greenway; and in the Pattee Canyon, Blue Mountain and Rattlesnake Recreation Areas. The new Parks and Trails map, available at Currents Aquatics Center and local retailers, features detailed maps of open space trails. The map is priced at $4. Hikers are reminded to leash dogs where posted and remove their pet’s waste.

Parks and Recreation is seeking volunteer “Elk Spotters” to help visually track the Jumbo herd’s movements over the winter months to learn more about how the animals use the mountain. Resource managers will use the data to make decisions about timber and vegetation management on Mount Jumbo. Those interested in committing to elk spotting on a daily basis may contact Chris Carlson, Research Program Specialist at Schools and other organizations are encouraged to participate.

Call 721-PARK or visit for more information about winter walking and hiking opportunities.