• A woman rests on rock over looking Missouri River Breaks south of Malta. Photo by Tony Bynum/tonybynum.com

Shining Mountains Chapter Walks

Photo by Tony Bynum

  

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Saturday, June 4

South Fork Lolo Creek

Location: Lolo
Public Land Management: Lolo National Forest
Trail Miles, Elevation Gain: 6 miles, 1,600 ft
Difficulty: Moderate
Leaders: Steve Seninger and Daphne Herling

Join us for a hike into the proposed South Fork Lolo Creek Wilderness addition on the northern end of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness.  This hike begins with a gentle streamside ascent along the beautiful and wild South Fork of Lolo Creek. After a short distance we will begin a steep climb along switchbacks through open, old clear-cut terrain that offers fabulous views of the surrounding country and the Grave Creek range to the northwest. We will then enter the forest and come to a rock overlook of the creek with a view toward the upper reaches of Lantern Ridge and Bass Peak. If folks agree, we will have two different pace groups—a faster group and a slower group for folks who wish to smell the roses (or wildflowers) along the way.

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Saturday, June 11

Rye Creek Road Restoration

Location: Darby
Public Land Management: Bitterroot National Forest
Trail Miles, Elevation Gain: 4 miles, 400 ft
Difficulty: Moderate
Leaders: Tim Peterson and Kirk Thompson

Join a road restoration contractor and a retired Forest Service road engineer to look at recent road storage and decommissioning work on the Darby Lumber Lands in Rye Creek. We will observe and discuss a variety of techniques and objectives of the project, and examine the results in a heavily roaded and logged area. If time permits, we will also look at a nearby road that was obliterated about 10 years ago, and observe natural re-vegetation.  Bring good hiking shoes, lunch and water.

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37

Sunday, June 12

Family Wildflower Walk

Location: Missoula
Public Land Management: Missoula Parks and Recreation
Trail Miles, Elevation Gain: 2.5 to 5 miles, 1,000 ft
Difficulty: Moderate
Leaders: Elena Ulev and Seth Barnes

Children and adults are invited on this fun, educational hike to the saddle of Mt. Jumbo, home of the rare cushion plant community. We will take a leisurely stroll to the saddle and stop to look at many species of beautiful native wildflowers along the way; we may even see bitterroots in bloom. Those who want to continue will climb to the top of Mt. Jumbo for spectacular views of the Missoula valley and beyond.

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38

Wednesday, June 15

Sunday Mountain

Location: Seeley Lake
Public Land Management: Lolo National Forest
Trail Miles, Elevation Gain: 6 miles, 1,970 ft
Difficulty: Strenuous
Leaders: Lee Boman and Gene Schade

Views of the Mission and Swan Mountains begin at the trailhead and intensify as the hike progresses.  We will be rewarded with impressive views of avalanche chutes on the Swan Front and Clearwater Lake, which is the beginning of the Clearwater River. We will take one of our breaks in a spot that often has abundant huckleberries and killer views.  After that break we follow a trail that leads directly up the Swan Front.  Wildflowers will offer constant excuses to pause and catch our breath.  It may be one of the steepest climbs you've made, but once we reach the crest of the Swan Range, the views of the Bob Marshall Wilderness will erase any bad memories of the strenuous climb.

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39

Saturday, June 18

MaClay Flats Exploration

Location: Missoula
Public Land Management: Lolo National Forest
Trail Miles, Elevation Gain: 1.5 miles, none
Difficulty: Easy
Leaders: Lori Alrawi and Mary Langenderfer

Summer is in the air, so get outside and enjoy a lively hike along the trail to the Bitterroot River. We will explore the surroundings on a scavenger hunt and document our findings in a nature journal.  This hike is not about the destination, but slowing down and noticing all the little details that make nature diverse. At the end of the adventure be prepared to make a little owl out of clay.  This will be a fun adventure for younger kids 4 to 10 years old (moms and dads are welcome too!)

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48

Friday, June 24

Turquoise Lake

Location: Condon
Public Land Management: Flathead National Forest
Trail Miles, Elevation Gain: 12 miles, 1,600 ft
Difficulty: Strenuous
Leader: Luke Lamar

Hike with a former Mission Mountains Wilderness Ranger to Turquoise Lake, the most beautiful hike in the Missions available on a maintained trail.  Stunning views of mountains, lakes, streams, snowfields, and glaciers will surround us. This area has great wildlife viewing opportunities.  We hope to see mountain goats on this adventure.

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59

Saturday, July 2

Hub Lake

Location: St. Regis
Public Land Management: Lolo National Forest
Trail Miles, Elevation Gain: 6 miles, 1,720 ft
Difficulty: Moderately - Strenuous
Leaders: Brennen Cain and Zack Porter

From giant old-growth cedars to beautiful sub-alpine lakes, this hike showcases the best of the Great Burn.  The trail traverses the Ward-Eagle Roadless Area, one of the jewels in the "String of Pearls" wildlands that stretches between Lolo and Lookout Pass.  We will delve into the storied history of the Great Burn region and opportunities to keep it wild for future generations.

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61

Saturday, July 9

Lakes Behind Crescent Mountain

Location: Seeley Lake
Public Land Management: Lolo National Forest
Trail Miles, Elevation Gain: 10.4 miles, 2,800 ft
Difficulty: Extremely Strenuous
Leaders: Lee Boman and Gene Schade

Lakes, potholes, rock formations, and views across the Bob Marshall Wilderness will be our reward for taking this hike.  We will climb the Swan Range from the west  to Crescent Lake.  After an extended break at Crescent Lake, we will cross over to the east side of the Swan Range and into the Bob.  The lakes and rock formations behind Crescent Mountain will remain in your memory forever.  The Bob spreads east for as far as we will see.  We'll be looking down the Marshall Creek drainage and be able to understand why Bob Marshall knew this country had to be protected.

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73

Thursday, July 21

Finley Lakes

Location: Arlee
Public Land Management: Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead
Trail Miles, Elevation Gain: 5 miles, 1,600 ft
Difficulty: Moderately - Strenuous
Leaders: Steve Seninger and Daphne Herling

Join Germaine White and Pablo Espinoza from the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead on a hike to Finley Lake. This early morning hike will include a couple of sections that are steep and rocky, but we will have rewarding views not only of the lake, but also of the southern end of the Jocko Valley.

A tribal recreation permit must be purchased before the hike and is available in Missoula at Bob Wards, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Regional Office, and Sportsman's Warehouse. They are also available in St. Ignatius at Cenex.

This hike is in honor of Bob Hopkins (1949-2016), a dedicated MWA volunteer and wilderness advocate.

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82

Thursday, July 28

Heart Lake

Location: Superior
Public Land Management: Lolo National Forest
Trail Miles, Elevation Gain: 7 miles, 600 ft
Difficulty: Moderately - Strenuous
Leader: Bert Lindler

This is one of the best day hikes in western Montana, providing a great introduction to the Great Burn Recommended Wilderness. This adventure will allow us to enjoy the breathtaking views from the Stateline Trail. We will have lunch either on the ridge overlooking Heart Lake or at the lake itself. Much of the hike is through wildflower meadows and the trail from the lake downhill to the trailhead is alongside the South Fork of Trout Creek.

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87

Thursday, August 11

Pilot Knob

Location: Lolo
Public Land Management: Lolo National Forest
Trail Miles, Elevation Gain: 7 miles, 3,000 ft
Difficulty: Extremely Strenuous
Leaders: Bert Lindler and Jay Gore

We will be hiking to the top of one of the most easily accessible prominent peaks in the southern portion of the Great Burn Recommended Wilderness.  At the top we will see mountain ranges all over western Montana and the high-dry country of the area provides the opportunity to see large Ponderosa Pines. Come prepared and bring water.

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92

Saturday, August 13

Coquina Lake

Location: Hamilton
Public Land Management: Nez Perce National Forest
Trail Miles, Elevation Gain: 5.2 miles, 880 ft
Difficulty: Moderate
Leaders: Butch Waddill and Marilyn Wolff

We will begin our hike at the Bear Creek Pass Trailhead, where the trail initially meanders through a boulder studded forest before emerging into open terrain below the wilderness boundary. Scenic views of the surrounding granite peaks open up as we traverse open slopes above Lower Bear Lake. We will then enter a subalpine forest and climb a series of switchbacks besides Bear Creek until we eventually drop into the Coquina Lake Basin.  Camping is available at Bear Pass Trailhead and at Coquina Lake for those so inclined to make this a multi-day adventure.

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93

Thursday, August 18

Schley Mountain

Location: Alberton
Public Land Management: Lolo National Forest
Trail Miles, Elevation Gain: 3 miles, 500 ft
Difficulty: Moderate
Leader: Bert Lindler

This hike is an excellent introduction to one of the most popular trailheads accessing the Great Burn Recommended Wilderness.  On the way to our hike we will pass through Fish Creek State Park and Wildlife Management Area. We will have great views from Schley Mountain and will probably be able to pick some huckleberries before heading back to town.  High clearance vehicles recommended.

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