MWA Offers Eight Family-Friendly Outings in Western Montana
Fun, knowledgeable guides lead the way
Exploring Montana, Featured
1. Lost Creek: Falls to Source
Saturday, July 18
This hike is a little more challenging, but at seven miles, it’s a good one for tweens and teenagers. The hike follows dramatic cliffs to the source of Lost Creek. Along the way you’ll see lots of old silver mine prospects. After lunch at some old cabins and some relaxing yoga, the hike will return via the ghost town of the old Silver King Mine. Hikers meet at the upper end of Lost Creek State Park at 9 a.m. (parking near the falls). Pre-register here.
2. Cyclone Peak Lookout Geology Tour
Saturday, August 15
Lookout hikes always offer incredible views. But just having the chance to peek into the historical, solitary lookouts is worth the price of admission (if there were a price). This hike gains about 1,000 feet of elevation on the easy climb to Cyclone Peak Lookout, with plenty of opportunities to pause and enjoy the views of Glacier National Park and North Fork of the Flathead. This hike meets at Montana Coffee Traders in Columbia Falls at 8:30 a.m. Or you can meet up at the Polebridge Mercantile in Polebridge at 10 a.m. Pre-register here.
3. West Fork Yaak
Saturday, August 22
“Quit your Yaakin!” will probably not be the only jokey pun you’ll hear on this trip. Hopefully, you’ll hear better ones. This scenic and fun hike meanders through the forest along the West Fork. Hike meets at 9:30 a.m. at the Yaak River Tavern in Yaak. Click here to preregister.
4. Seniors and Kids Kootenai Forest Tour
Saturday, August 29
This all-ages hike offers an ideal opportunity for grandparents and kids and all family members in between to spend a day together in the woods. The hike is the perfect combination of education and fun and will leave younger and older adventurers primed for their next wilderness experience. Tour starts at 9 a.m. at the Kootenai Forest Supervisor’s Office in Libby. Pre-register here.
5. Wetland Wanderings & Wings
Saturday, September 12
Mud is a magnet for kids. When you add bugs, birds, and animals to the equation, kids are primed to learn about our natural world. This entertaining day will open kids’ eyes to the world of wetlands and the birds and animals that make a home there. Don’t miss this trip! Well-known as a great wildlife educator, Brian Baxter leads the charge. Hike leaves at 9 a.m. from the Kila Pub, eight miles southwest of Kalispell at the intersection of Highway 2 and Kila Road. Pre-register here.
6. Baker Lakes Stewardship Hike
Saturday, September 26
Celebrate Public Lands Day by giving back to the land you love on this stewardship hike. You’ll be cleaning campfire rings, picking up trash, and making the trail look less like the aftermath of a birthday party and more like what it is — a serene jaunt to picturesque subalpine lakes. Hike meets at 9 a.m. at the Bitterroot National Forest Supervisor’s Office in Hamilton or at 9:30 a.m. at the Darby Ranger District in Darby. Pre-register here.
7. Hunter Preparation, Strategies, and Methods
Saturday, October 3
Hunting is a wonderful way for older generations to pass on their real love for the outdoors to the younger folk (for this hike, that’s kids 12 and up). This exciting trip features compass basics, topo map navigation, tracking, sign recognition, weather, and proper daypack and vehicle preparation. You'll also learn about habitat, as well as ungulate grazing and movements habits. Please leave the firearms at home. Brian Baxter leads the hike.Participants meet at First Montana Bank in Libby and at 9 a.m. Pre-register here.
8. Geologic History of the Flathead Valley
Saturday, October 17
Have you ever been out hiking and stopped to wonder, “How were those mountains/rocks/crazy formations formed?” You’re not the only one! This adventure is perfect for families. It starts with a fascinating introduction before venturing outside to identify geologic features of the Flathead. This hike is lead by a pro. Lex Blood, professor of geology at Flathead Valley Community College, will be showing you the ropes, er, rocks of the Flathead. Hike begins at 1 p.m. at the Lone Pine State Park Visitor Center in Kalispell. Pre-register here.
- Allison Linville, MWA state council member