Hiking the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness
by Scott Steinberg (Falcon Guides)
© Scott Steinberg/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.
We hiked as far as Big Creek Lake. There is a good camping area around Teepee Rock (appx 5 mi from trailhead). There is another good campsite just after the last creek crossing before the big climb up to the lake (just past the last bridge crossing of the creek). There are several good campsites at the lake itself. Warning - the trail is very popular for use with horses and there is a lot of evidence on the trail. There are black bears in the area and were sited by others on the trail. While we met a lot of people on their way down from the lake on Thursday, we had the lake to ourselves Thursday night and most of Friday. While quite a few people came up on Friday, it was still quiet. The lake is unbelievably beautiful and huge. Vivid blue and great fishing in the evenings and mornings. We saw a moose swimming in the lake early one morning. There was a LOT of animal activity at night.
The destination makes the trail well worthwhile. Be prepared for the "staircase" (as the locals we met referred to it). The trail has "stairs" built into the mountain for the last push up to the lake. The stairs vary from mid-calf to just below the knee - not easy to climb with a heavy pack. It is the most difficult part of the trail, but then you see the incredible blue lake and it is forgotten!
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