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Trail Well Traveled – 9/29

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 encourages us to make up for lost time with a hike in a part of Montana that wildfire rendered mostly inaccessible in August. Get it in this weekend because we’re not sure how much season is left!

PNT Bluebird Lake

A wonderful – and relatively easy – hike to a backcountry lake in the Ten Lakes National Scenic Area.

Round Trip: 4.5 miles

Total Elevation Gain: 1,110 feet


Directions: From Missoula, head west on Interstate 90 to the Wye and then take Highway 93 north towards Kalispell. Continue on to Whitefish and then follow the highway as it loops west and then north again to Fortine.

Just north of Fortine you’ll turn right onto Grave Creek Road and follow it about 28 miles to the Therriault Lakes. The pavement runs out after about 10 miles, but the remainder is a smooth gravel surface with a few washboard sections.

Follow the northern fork of the road past Little Therriault Lake to the trailhead, about two miles from the junction.

What to expect: The trail begins with an uphill grade along an old road that quickly narrows to a pleasant trail through a spruce-fir forest.

There are openings to provide great views, with avalanche chutes and a couple of stream crossings. Huckleberries are plentiful.

The trail then levels out into a meadow alongside a small stream and passes Paradise Lake.  It continues up a rocky section through open meadows.  Go right at the trail junction along a level section then left in a short distance at the next trail junction up to Bluebird Lake.

There is a large open area for lunch or camping.  The fishing is terrific for pan-size cutthroats.

This trail is part of the 1,200 mile long Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail (PNT). To learn more, visit www.pnt.org.

Note: This is prime grizzly bear country and hibernation is just around the corner – which means they’re scavenging for calories. So bring your bear spray!


Learn more about this trail, file your own trip report and photos, or check out some other great hikes at hikewildmontana.org. 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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