Hiking the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness  by Scott Steinberg

Hiking the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness Guide Book

by Scott Steinberg (Falcon Guides)
Hiking the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness  by Scott Steinberg
The Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness is a vast domain that encompasses over 2,000 square miles of rugged Idaho and Montana backcountry. In this completely revised and updated guidebook, detailed hike narratives, beautiful photos, and accurate maps guide you to the rushing waterfalls, rustic lookouts, high peaks, and steaming hot springs throughout this wilderness complex. With over 80 hikes covering access points in both Idaho and Montana, this definitive guidebook describes 600 miles of hikes in detail including all or portions of six forest service ranger districts in four national forests.

© 2012 Scott Steinberg/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Hiking the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 81.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 81.

At first glance, the trail to Bad Luck Mountain appears so short and insignificant that you might guess it to be boring. Not so. This ridgeline route is surprisingly rich in scenic value, traversing mostly open terrain with generous views of White Cap Creek and the surrounding river breaks. Abundant spring wildflowers provide an added attraction. The trail initially contours away the corridor road, passing through fir and pine on its way west through the trees. After a brief hike you arrive at a junction with an unsigned but obvious side trail (15X) dropping in from the south; this nonsystem route receives no USFS maintenance.
Conner, MT - Hiking - Trail Length: 5.2
Bailey Lake offers pleasant Bitterroot fare—good fishing and aesthetics along the Bitterroot Divide—and is well within reach of most day hikers, including younger children. Though the trail itself is fairly rough underfoot and traverses heavy brush fields resulting from a 1988 wildfire, there is little risk of becoming lost. This is a nice place to spend a leisurely September afternoon.
Hamilton, MT - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.4
This short and easy-to-follow route is a perennial favorite for hikers of all ages and persuasions. The trail provides access to a trio of beautiful subalpine lakes as well as an alternate—and arguably superior—approach route to nearby Trapper Peak (10,157 feet). This hikers-only trail is closed to all motorized and equestrian use. Please stay on the designated trail and refrain from camping and fishing along Fred Burr Creek until you reach public lands beyond a locked gate at the Bitterroot National Forest boundary.
Conner, MT - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.4
This trail follows an old dozer grade from the Bitterroot foothills to a sprawling reservoir cradled in the headwaters of Bass Creek. The hike has a good deal to offer in terms of scenic variety, even though an earthen dam at Bass Lake tempers the aesthetics. Connections with trails leading into the adjacent Kootenai and South Fork Lolo Creek drainages provide for extended trip possibilities via their respective passes; the route into the South Fork Lolo Creek drainage makes an especially good point-topoint hike. (See Hike 1: South Fork Lolo Creek to Bass Creek for more information.)
Florence, MT - Hiking - Trail Length: 17
With its whitewater cascades, towering granite battlements, and old-growth forests, the trail along Bear Creek easily qualifies as one of the most enjoyable stream-bottom hikes in the Bitterroots—and is also one of the most popular. It is well maintained and climbs quite gradually over most of its length; there are many good turnaround points, as well as a possible side trip along the South Fork of Bear Creek. The trail may also be hiked as the first portion of a longer point-to-point hike into the Big Creek drainage via Bear Creek and Packbox passes. (See Hike 8: Big Creek to Bear Creek for more information.)
Victor, MT - Hiking - Trail Length: 15.4
This trail provides a modest day hike to the top of the prominent subsidiary ridge running southeast from Gash Point (8,886 feet). With views rivaling those from the higher Bitterroot peaks, the overlook is a good choice for hikers wanting an up-close view of the Bitterroot Mountains without having to climb all the way up from the Bitterroot Valley foothills. For the modest effort required you would be hard pressed to find another trail as short and as visually impressive as this particular route.
Victor, MT - Hiking - Trail Length: 5
This hike provides strenuous passage to a remote mountain outpost that—according to one veteran fire watchman—typically sees fewer than two dozen visitors each summer. Though not exceptionally high, the mostly open summit of Bear Mountain offers striking views of the surrounding country. The trail beyond Warm Springs Creek is lined with huckleberries and is surprisingly well maintained in spite of its light use.
Lolo, MT - Hiking - Trail Length: 15
This trail provides the shortest of three possible routes to the summit of Beaver Jack Mountain, an unassuming peak located in the southernmost reaches of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness. A low-profile trail of little apparent interest to recreational hikers, the route is principally used for hunting access. But what Beaver Jack Mountain lacks in accessibility and popularity, compared to destinations along the corridor, it more than makes up for in solitude and opportunities for wildlife viewing.
Conner, MT - Hiking - Trail Length: 9.6
This outstanding point-to-point hike twice crosses the Bitterroot Divide in what amounts to one of the more difficult—and scenically rewarding—Bitterroot treks. Its star attractions are the Big Creek Lakes, two large mountain lakes situated in a long valley directly below the Bitterroot Divide. Destinations in their own right, the lakes offer good fishing, widespread campsites, and a variety of side trip possibilities.
Victor, MT - Hiking - Trail Length: 27
Big Sand Lake is hands-down the most popular day hike in the Elk Summit area. The lake—as popular a stopover for moose as for hikers—is seemingly one of the few places outside of a national park where you can regularly fish within four or five casting distances of the ungainly creatures. The continuation of the trail over Blodgett Pass leaves open the possibility of a longer point-to-point hike with end points in two different states.
Lolo, MT - Backpacking,Hiking - Trail Length: 15.4
This trail showcases the majestic length of Blodgett Canyon, a hands-down favorite of many local hikers and the centerpiece of the many east-west canyons found along the western margin of the Bitterroot Valley. It offers an exceptionally pleasant and scenic passage en route to a high mountain lake whose beauty nicely complements one of the Bitterroots’ most spectacular canyons. Additionally, the trail offers two potential side trips; the short diversion to Blodgett Pass in particular is not to be missed.
Hamilton, MT - Hiking - Trail Length: 23
This short, well-maintained trail is suitable for hikers of all abilities. The route requires an unhurried forty-five-minute walk, crossing the crest of Romney Ridge to reach a collection of stony outcrops at the overlook area. Beyond the overlook unfolds a scene of rugged splendor, with talus-strewn couloirs and granite faces rising along the length of Blodgett Canyon and to the crest of Printz Ridge.
Hamilton, MT - Hiking - Trail Length: 3
Boulder Creek is the southernmost of the major Bitterroot River tributaries originating in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness. Its beautiful lakes, colorful pocket meadows, tumbling waterfalls, and good fishing attract backpackers and equestrians by the dozen each summer. Its connection with the Canyon Creek Trail (2) on the Bitterroot Divide allows for the possibility of much longer point-to-point hikes to the Paradise Guard Station or to the Tin Cup Creek Trailhead.
Conner, MT - Hiking - Trail Length: 19
Boulder Point ranks as one of the Bitterroots’ most underrated day hikes. This steep route is in generally good repair, with only a few downed trees and a poorly defined segment atop School Point to confuse the issue. Use is light—decidedly less than many other trail-accessible Bitterroot peaks. From the barricaded terminus of Barn Draw Road, the trail sets out with the former roadbed underfoot, contours across Barn Draw, and turns southeast below 5,559-foot School Point. The misdirection is only temporary, however, and soon a steep ascent ensues as you double back to follow an abandoned jeep trail northwest across the bald shoulder and gain the ridgeline atop School Point.
Conner, MT - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.2
This lightly used trail makes a fine introduction to the 16,360-acre Burdette Creek roadless area west of Missoula.
Lolo, MT - Hiking - Trail Length: 5
This fine day hike leads to a small mountain lake nestled among gray talus and green forest southwest of Hamilton. Although the route is maintained only as far as Camas Lake, a determined hiker may continue farther afield to Kidney Lake or to several nameless lakes in the upper reaches of Camas Creek. Any of these choices provide fine fishing possibilities, and all are quite scenic.
Grantsdale, MT - Hiking - Trail Length: 5.4
The first few miles of the Canyon Falls trail are typical—miles of heavy streambottom forest interspersed with talus and the occasional streamside diversion. The falls themselves do not possess the classic vertical plunge of Niagara Falls but instead feature an impressive 400-foot drop down a polished bedrock sluice.
Hamilton, MT - Hiking - Trail Length: 8.6
This route follows a segment of the old Southern Nez Perce Trail south from Nez Perce Pass and east to the crest of Castle Rock (7,722 feet). Located within the 65,000- acre Blue Joint Wilderness Study Area (WSA). This striking peak is one of the most recognizable landmarks of the Magruder Corridor and offers fine views of the Bitterroot Divide centered on Nez Perce Pass. Reaching the summit requires some cross-county route finding and possible scrambling on all fours, but the hiking here is otherwise straightforward.
Conner, MT - Hiking - Trail Length: 5.4
This trail leads to a lovely group of lakes offering a choice of campsites, excellent fishing, and spectacular mountain scenery. The lakes are best suited for outings of two or three nights; indeed, all of the rudiments for a memorable weekend trip await visitors to this outstanding Bitterroot drainage.
Darby, MT - Hiking - Trail Length: 12
This hikers-only trail offers a leisurely stroll through a variety of forest types just above US 12 west of Powell.
Kooskia, ID - Hiking - Trail Length: 1