Kootenai Creek Trail

Lolo, Montana

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The Kootenai Creek Trail is a popular hike up a narrow canyon noted for its numerous pools and waterfalls—perfect for passing a Montana summer’s day. Sheer granite cliffs tower above the creek bottom, which is shaded lightly by green shrubs and marked with groves of ponderosa pines and cottonwood. Otter and mink traverse the waterway. Small trout flit about the pools. The trail traces the creek on this journey, at times climbing above it for views, such as the rocky point that serves as a good turnaround spot. Hikers who want to extend the journey can proceed as far up this canyon as they wish. Leaving the trailhead, the hike runs along the side of the canyon. Almost immediately a challenge presents itself. How that challenge is handled will vary from party to party. Hikers seeking the bosom of nature will find a private swimming hole in Kootenai Creek, complete with a terraced granite deck and a garden of broad-leafed greenery from which to view the mink and otter frolicking on rocks just to show their sheer joy at living in such a beautiful place.
Best Hikes Near Missoula

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Best Hikes Near Missoula

by Josh Mahan (Falcon Guides)

The Kootenai Creek Trail is a popular hike up a narrow canyon noted for its numerous pools and waterfalls—perfect for passing a Montana summer’s day. Sheer granite cliffs tower above the creek bottom, which is shaded lightly by green shrubs and marked with groves of ponderosa pines and cottonwood. Otter and mink traverse the waterway. Small trout flit about the pools. The trail traces the creek on this journey, at times climbing above it for views, such as the rocky point that serves as a good turnaround spot. Hikers who want to extend the journey can proceed as far up this canyon as they wish.

Leaving the trailhead, the hike runs along the side of the canyon. Almost immediately a challenge presents itself. How that challenge is handled will vary from party to party. Hikers seeking the bosom of nature will find a private swimming hole in Kootenai Creek, complete with a terraced granite deck and a garden of broad-leafed greenery from which to view the mink and otter frolicking on rocks just to show their sheer joy at living in such a beautiful place.

© 2014 Josh Mahan/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Lolo
Distance: 5.6
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Moderate
Duration: 3 hours
Season: Year-round
Accessibility: Dog-friendly
Local Contacts: Stevensville Ranger District, 88 Main St., Stevensville, MT 59870; (406) 7775461; www.fs.usda.gov/main/bitterroot/home
Local Maps: USGS Saint Mary Peak; USDAFS Bitterroot National Forest, available at the Stevensville Ranger Station.
Driving Directions: Directions to Kootenai Creek Trail

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Apr 2018