One of the nice things about the Bitterroot Valley is the large number of hiking trails that head out through the Bitterroot National Forest towards the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness.
At 1.3 million acres, it is one of the largest designated wilderness areas in the United States. It spans the Bitterroot Mountain Range, on the border between Idaho and Montana. It covers parts of Bitterroot National Forest, Clearwater National Forest, Lolo National Forest, and the Nez Perce National Forest. The Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness Area is immediately to its south, separated only by a dirt road (the Magruder Corridor). Together with adjoining public land, the two wilderness areas form a five million acre wild region.
That’s a lot of hiking opportunities! We have only been out on a few so far but they have all been rewarding. The Tin Cup Creek trailhead (TH) is just outside Darby and it runs some 20 miles or so up into the wilderness. We’ve only been a few miles up it so far and have yet to get out of the forest although we did see a bull moose in the creek. Too many trees in the way so I did not get a picture. Blodgett Canyon is located just outside of Hamilton and we hiked 4.5 miles up the canyon to the Lower Falls. It was an amazing hike, the canyon is reminiscent of Yosemite and it deserves a post of it’s own.
The picture above was what awaits us when we go back to finish the hike up Little Rock Creek. We found it the other morning while heading to Lake Como for a short hike as we were limited by time and it’s easy. However, on the way to the trailhead I got distracted by a sign pointing to the Little Rock Creek TH which I had read about the other day. Seemed a lot more interesting so we detoured and ended up driving several miles up the forest road and eventually found the trailhead.
The trail wound up through a lot of new forest growth (pines about eight feet tall) and then reached a point with a view of Lake Como, back east to the Sapphire Mountains, and west up Rock Creek. It then turned left and provided the view at the top of the post. The trail descended the side of the mountain eventually reaching Little Rock Creek and entering the Wilderness. We continued hiking through the forest but ran out of time and had to return. Definitely want to go back and finish this one if time permits.