Ole Creek

Essex, Montana

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The area between Fielding and Ole Creek, near the top of the Continental Divide, receives several hundred inches of snow every winter and often has snow early and late season. Fielding, named for the Fielding Siding where trains can pass each other, was once next to a rough-and-tumble town called McCarthysville. When the Great Northern Railway laid tracks here in 1891, a Chinese kitchen stood at Fielding in between sets of tracks. Although the town existed only three winters, tales abound of its toughness. Body counts during spring thaw revealed miners, boom town characters, Chinese workers, and outlaws who lived and died there. Ole Creek, named for a Scandinavian trapper, was called Buckskin Horse Creek by the Kootenai Indians. Skiers and snowshoers who choose to do the entire 10-mile route from Fielding Picnic Area to Ole Creek and down to the Walton Ranger Station should plan for a very long day or else come equipped for winter camping along the trail. Check with the Park Service before you make an overnight stay, both to obtain a backcountry permit and for information regarding snow bridges crossing Ole Creek. Adventurers who wish for an easier day trip can travel either from Fielding to Ole Creek and back out for a 7-mile round trip, or from Walton Ranger Station to Ole Creek, a 2.2-mile round trip. Surface quality: Snowshoe-packed.
Winter Trails: Montana

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Winter Trails: Montana

by Jean Arthur (The Globe Pequot Press)

The area between Fielding and Ole Creek, near the top of the Continental Divide, receives several hundred inches of snow every winter and often has snow early and late season. Fielding, named for the Fielding Siding where trains can pass each other, was once next to a rough-and-tumble town called McCarthysville. When the Great Northern Railway laid tracks here in 1891, a Chinese kitchen stood at Fielding in between sets of tracks. Although the town existed only three winters, tales abound of its toughness. Body counts during spring thaw revealed miners, boom town characters, Chinese workers, and outlaws who lived and died there. Ole Creek, named for a Scandinavian trapper, was called Buckskin Horse Creek by the Kootenai Indians. Skiers and snowshoers who choose to do the entire 10-mile route from Fielding Picnic Area to Ole Creek and down to the Walton Ranger Station should plan for a very long day or else come equipped for winter camping along the trail.

Check with the Park Service before you make an overnight stay, both to obtain a backcountry permit and for information regarding snow bridges crossing Ole Creek. Adventurers who wish for an easier day trip can travel either from Fielding to Ole Creek and back out for a 7-mile round trip, or from Walton Ranger Station to Ole Creek, a 2.2-mile round trip. Surface quality: Snowshoe-packed.

©  Jean Arthur/The Globe Pequot Press. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Snowshoeing
Nearby City: Essex
Distance: 10
Trail Type: Shuttle
Skill Level: Moderate to Difficult
Duration: Day use or overnight
Trailhead Elevation: 3,900 feet
Top Elevation: 4,800 feet
Local Contacts: Glacier National Park, Avalanche Info, (800)-526-5329
Driving Directions: Directions to Ole Creek

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Apr 2018