Whitefish and a Rose


The HistoryI might be related to a guy in Glacier National Park history.

If I could shake the family tree hard enough I possibly could find that I am related to Charles Rose.

You might ask who is he? and …

Why would you think you are related to this random stranger from Glacier’s past?

My grandfather was Harry M. Rose and he came from the Ohio many years ago. I have no idea where Charlie came from but he arrived in this area in the 1880s. I will never know if we are family but it is interesting.


My grandpa Harry Rose making camp coffee.

I think my grandfather and Charles would have had a lot in common. Both of them were men who made a living outside. Charles was a trapper for the American Fur Company and Harry made a living as a guide in the Bob Marshall Wilderness and when he was not guiding he worked as a woodsman.

My grandfather does not have any geographic places named for him but Charles Rose does.

Otokomi Lake is nestled in Rose Basin and Rose Creek is the creek that empties Otokomi Lake. Both the basin and the creek are named for Charles Rose. Sometime in the past some folks did not know how to spell and misspelled the name as Roes.

The 2015 Reynolds Creek Fire burned up the Rose Creek Drainage and below Otokomi Mountain.

The 2015 Reynolds Creek Fire burned up the Rose Creek Drainage and below Otokomi Mountain. Otokomi Mountain is on the right side of this photo.

Both Harry and Charles had sons who apparently loved the outdoors as well. Harry’s son, my Uncle Jim, was in the U.S. Air Force and loved fly fishing and hunting and Charles’ son Otokomi hung out with George Bird Grinnell in what was to become Glacier National Park. In fact, Otokomi, was a constant companion of Grinnell’s whenever he came out to these parts.

Otokomi’s mother was from the Piegan tribe and it seems that most of the trappers who made their way to Glacier country in the 1800s married Native American women.

Otokomi Blake R

Otokomi Lake, photo courtesy of Jake Bramante and Hike734.

When translated, Otokomi means “Yellow Fish” and both Otokomi Lake and Otokomi Mountain (7,935 ft. / 2419 m.) were named in the 1880’s for Grinnell’s good hunting buddy. The native name was “Otokomi Istuki.

I am not sure how the “whitefish” name got associated with this peak but the U.S. Geographic Board approved the name Whitefish Mountain in 1929 and then decided to change it back to Otokomi Mountain again in 1940.

This name change was likely due to there being another geographic landmark in the Whitefish Range named Whitefish Mountain. The ski resort now known as “Whitefish Mountain Resort” is actually located on a peak called Big Mountain. This is a little confusing too and no one got to vote on that name change.


  1. WAIT: If you want to hike up Rose Creek and reach Otokomi Lake you will need to wait until the trailhead is open. The human-caused 2015 Reynolds Creek Fire has rendered access to the entire area closed for this year.
  2. GO: When you go plan on enjoying a full day there. The hike is 11 miles round distance and gains about 2,100 feet from the trailhead.
  3. TAKE: In addition to the normal backpack full of camera, lunch, water, and rain gear make sure you take Bear Deterrent Spray. This area is a hang out for black bears and there was also a grizzly attack on this trail a number of years ago. Use proper bear country hiking etiquette and enjoy your hike. I use CounterAssault Bear spray that is manufactured in Kalispell, MT.

Next time you are in Glacier consider visiting the places named for my “long distance family member” Charles Rose and his son Yellowfish. Hiking anywhere in Glacier is a magical experience and you can expect the same on this journey.

I am on a quest to know more about the place names in Glacier National Park and perhaps you want to know more about a particular place name. Leave a comment in the comment section and I will do a blog about your query.

Until next time,


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