Hiking Montana's Bob Marshall Wilderness
by Erik Molvar (Falcon Guides)
© Erik Molvar/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.
THIS IS SOME OF THE MOST PRISTINE HIKING AREAS I'VE EVER VISITED (IN OR., WASH., MONT., ARIZONA, UTAH, OR NEV. WILDLIFE ABOUNDS. THE ROAD IS SO BAD THAT NOT ALOT OF PEOPLE GO THERE.
6 of us took a day hike from Camp Misery Trailhead to Wildcat Lake. The trail on the whole is pretty well maintained, mostly dirt with some patches of large gravel and rocks. The trail is very clear through Twin Lakes, but we had a bit of trouble finding our way to Wildcat. The map makes it look like you just go straight and the trail ends, but that's not quite right - you have to take a right fork a little less than a mile before the lake. The turn isn't well marked if you're coming from Misery, but if you look at the intersection from the opposite side the sign is readily apparent.
The last mile to Wildcat is pretty steep going down what looks like a big glacier-carved halfpipe. It definitely gets you good and warmed up immediately after leaving the lake - give yourself time after eating to let your food settle.
We took a day hike from the Camp Misery trail head to Twin Lakes (trail 8) and back around via trails 7 and 68 to the trail head (perhaps a total of 6 miles, including being a bit lost -- see below). The views were spectacular both to the west going to Twin Lanes, and to the east coming back. The initial part of the trail was a moderate grade, but most of the rest of the hike was generally level and fairly easy for us middle-aged moderately-active hikers. However, do not rely on the trail map in the Falcon guide on Trails.com. It is both inaccurate (the southerly portion of trail 7 shown on the map is actually trails 1 and 392) and incomplete (many side trails, including the correct exit trail back to the trail head) are missing. Following it cost us about an hour of serious worry as we tried to find our way back to the parking lot in the late afternoon on the high plateau with no camping equipment. The map posted at the trail head itself is quite accurate, or you can download an accurate map by searching on 'Jewel Basin' at the Forest Service web site. Well worth the visit!
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