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Trail Well Traveled – 10/6

Each Friday, in partnership with Montana Wilderness Association we will feature a new western Montana trail and then give you some helpful details and tips to get on your way!

This weekend Craig sends us a’wandering to an beautiful, kid-friendly hike that was probably off limits during the summer wildfires. Get it in before it snows and the trail becomes inaccessible for an entirely different reason!

Heart Lake Trail #171

An awesome day trip from Missoula along one of the most heavily used trails in the Proposed Great Burn Wilderness.

Round Trip: 4.5 miles

Total Elevation Gain: 1,200 feet

Directions: From Missoula, head west on Interstate 90 and take Exit 47 at Superior. At the bottom of the off-ramp you’ll turn left 4th Avenue East, and then left again on River Street. On the other side of the highway, running parallel to I-90, is Diamond Road. Turn left again there, and drive southeast about four miles until you drive through the old Diamond Match plant.

At this point, the road becomes Trout Creek Road (or Forest Service Road #250). Follow it for another 19 miles until you see the sign for Heart Lake, with the trailhead on your left.

What to expect: The Heart Lake Trail follows the South Fork of Trout Creek through dense cedar forest, patches of huckleberry, and even the occasional aspen stand.

For a little over two miles, you will climb close to 1200 feet over a rocky, sometimes rutted, trail. For hydration, the trail crosses several little creeks and you never meander too far from the South Fork of Trout Creek.

After one final creek crossing, you are within a quarter mile of the outlet of Heart Lake.

Once arriving at the lake, you’re likely to find people fishing, swimming, and possibly stand up paddle boarding.

Learn more about this trail, file your own trip report and photos, or check out some other great hikes at And don’t forget to tune in to the Trail 103.3 each Friday at 9:50 am for the next featured trail and your chance to win!

Big thanks to Rangitsch Bros RV for sponsoring the Trail Well Traveled. Proudly serving Missoula for over 56 years, whatever camper best suits your needs Rangitsch Bros has got it!

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