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Trail Well Traveled – 5/18

Welcome to the Trail Well Traveled!

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!

One of the cooler things about the association’s online hiking directory is that it’s searchable not just by region or by trail – you can also narrow your hiking destination down by trail features – those that include lakes or waterfalls, for instance. This week, Craig was in want of a nearby trail through old growth forest. By clicking the associated box on the left hand side of the navigation page he was able to narrow his choices down to three. Finally, he opted for the closest one.

South Fork Lolo Creek #311

Hike into the proposed South Fork Lolo Creek Wilderness addition to the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness

Roundtrip: 7 miles


Elevation Gain: 1600 feet

Directions: From Missoula, head down Highway 93 south to Lolo and then at the second stoplight turn right onto US 12. You’ll follow the highway west for about 10 miles and then just past the Woodman schoolhouse on the right make a left turn onto Elk Meadows forest service road.  Follow this road for 2.5 miles then turn to left at sign for South Fork Lolo Creek trailhead.  Another 2.5 miles up and down will bring you to a large trailhead parking area clearly marked as the South Fork Lolo Creek.

What to expect: The hike begins under a lush green canopy with along the beautiful and wild South Fork of Lolo Creek.

In less than a mile the trail begins a moderately strenuous ascent up several switchbacks through old clear-cut terrain and extremely colorful underbrush. This part of the hike offers fabulous views of the surrounding country and the Grave Creek range to the northwest.

A couple miles from the trailhead, the path levels out as you enter a forested area. A wooden tree sign marks the way. The trees are so tall and skinny even the slightest wind creates an amazing – and startling, at first – percussive sound.

About 1.5 miles after the sign, you’ll see a huge rock overlook on the right. Stop here, enjoy a picnic or a nap, and take in the majesty that is the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness.

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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