• A family walks along upper Rock Creek overlooking the Pintlers. Photo by James Chapman

Southwest Montana Walks

Photo by James Chapman
Southwest Montana

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Saturday, May 13

Humbug Spires

Location: Divide
Miles/Difficulty: 5 miles/Moderate
Leaders: Jack Kirkley and Brenda Kirkley

This low-elevation hike provides a good early spring warm-up for our hiking legs. The trail varies in steepness, with a few ‘huff-and-puff’  stretches up the geologically vertical granite.

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Saturday, June 24

Lake of the Isle

Location: Anaconda
Miles/Difficulty: 10 miles/Moderately Strenuous
Leaders: Jim Fay and Glen Southergill

Hike to Lake of the Isle, a beautiful mountain lake close to the Continental Divide at the foot of Mount Evans, in the Anaconda-Pintler range.

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Saturday, June 24

Coolidge Ghost Town

Location: Wise River
Miles/Difficulty: 12 miles/Strenuous
Leaders: Callie Boyle and Matt Moore

Hike deep into the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, through stands of pine, spruce, fir trees, and lichen-covered boulders, to the eerily beautiful Coolidge Ghost Town, continuing along picturesque Elkhorn Creek up to Elkhorn Lake.

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Saturday, July 1

Trapper Creek to Granite Lake

Location: Melrose
Miles/Difficulty: 6 miles/Strenuous
Leaders: Charlie O'Leary and Russ O'Leary

The East Pioneer Mountains are a landscape of many uses. This off-trail hike is a quiet trek through summer elk range leading to a beautiful lake at the base of Granite Peak. Scenic vistas, open meadows, and unique terrain abound in this area adjacent to the East Pioneers Recommended Wilderness.

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Saturday, July 15

Mount Haggin

Location: Anaconda
Miles/Difficulty: 10 miles/Strenuous
Leaders: Mark Phillip and Dave Williams

The hike ascends through forest fire regrowth, mature forest with tamaracks, and an alpine meadow before climbing Mount Haggin, Anaconda's dominant summit. The descent is a ridge walk, exiting through the Barker Lake area.

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Saturday, August 19

Blair Lake

Location: Monida
Miles/Difficulty: 9 miles/Strenuous
Leaders: Kelly Hurston and Fran Galvin

Explore the Centennial Mountains on the Montana-Idaho border above the Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge. Blair Lake is located at 8,100 feet, near the Continental Divide Trail.

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Saturday, August 26

Pintlers Geology Backpack

Location: Anaconda
Miles/Difficulty: 14 miles/Extremely Strenuous
Leaders: Dave Williams and Karen Williams

An overnight backpacking trip to Upper Carrp Lake highlights the geologic diversity of the Pintler Mountains. The campsite at Caarp Lake sits below Warren Peak, where participants have the option to take a day trip to Warren Lake.

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Sunday, August 27

Antone Peak

Location: Dillon
Miles/Difficulty: 4 miles/Moderately Strenuous
Leaders: O. Alan Weltzien and Neal Straus

The Snowcrest Range, one of southwest Montana's treasures, is a long-standing Wilderness Study Area that has been recommended for permanent Wilderness protection. Running north-to-south, this local mountain range features stands of lodgepole pine alpine parks and plenty of wildlife. From the summit of Antone Peak (10,247 feet) we can survey several mountain ranges and the Centennial Valley.

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Saturday, September 2

Cave Mountain

Location: Whitehall
Miles/Difficulty: 4 miles/Moderate
Leaders: Amanda Hagerty and Nathan Jones

This backcountry-adventure focuses on public lands history and travels into the undeveloped area of Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park. The hike ventures behind Cave Mountain, through mostly forested terrain with the opportunity to enjoy surrounding vistas.

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Friday, September 15

Warren Pass Loop

Location: Anaconda
Miles/Difficulty: 10 miles/Strenuous
Leaders: Fran Galvin and Irene Fries

Warren Pass is an enjoyable loop hike in the Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness that offers superb scenery. The hike route follows Carpp Creek upstream, through Maloney Basin and Black Bear Meadows, to the base of Mount Warren. The hike descent winds through Upper and Lower Carpp Lake.

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Sunday, September 24

Lost Creek

Location: Anaconda
Miles/Difficulty: 3 miles/Easy
Leader: Tom Forwood

Spectacular grey limestone cliffs and pink and white granite formations rise above the canyon's narrow floor. Lost Creek Falls, in the park, cascades over a 50-foot drop to provide one of the most scenic spots in the park. Mountain goats, golden eagles, and bighorn sheep are frequently seen on the cliffs above, and pika are often seen and heard in the rock piles in the upper park.

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