Explore the most popular birding trails in Bitterroot National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Beautiful trail. Well worth the hike. I would consider the trail easy to moderate. Park near the gate but go up the skinner trail. We started hiking the gate way but trail was not maintained and lots of dead forest on that side.

hiking
3 days ago

Enjoyed revisiting this trail and introducing it to a friend. we traversed close to two miles to enjoy the lower falls. I am on O2 (4L), but made it!
The creek was high, so I couldn't let the kids slide down the rocks into the swim pools. Our puppy enjoyed it too!

Great hike. Rained the entire time but trail was a in good shape. No visibility but still pretty spectacular. I can only imagine what it would be on a clear day.

Easy to moderate trail. Beautiful views. Past the Falls is a bit grown in. Make sure you have plenty of water for after the falls. You can’t get close to the Creek for quite a ways.

Spectacular views for such a short & easy hike. Completed in under 1.5 hours round trip on the evening of 6/15/18. Snow is all gone, although it did hail during my ascent. Counted 22 not steep switchbacks and one longer stretch at the very end.

Make sure to use directions to bear creek OVERLOOK trail, different from bear creek trailhead. Looong & precarious dirt road up to the trailhead, not for the faint of heart. When you get to the end of the dirt road, there is a gate stopping further access. Do not follow the road past the gate, take the trail up into the forest on your left. There are two trails, one straight up and one slightly to the south that switches back and forth the whole way up. These two trails cross each other frequently, but the switchback way is nice and easy to follow. Enjoy the incredible views!!

Lots of wildflowers right now! Heavily trafficked. Past the second bench there is a side trail up to a rocky outlook on the south side of the mountain which was fun but dangerously steep on loose dirt in a few spots, you need good traction and balance and perhaps a touch of willingness to do some sliding on your butt coming back down. At the overlook at the end of the trail there are several spots to go exploring out on rocks to get even better views. Great trail overall.

Takes a little effort to get to the end but very cool once you do. Large open area where you could picnic, relax, rest, etc. The worst part I thought was the drive up. I have a fairly new car and the unpaved road is very rough. Glad I went on a week night after work as there didn’t seem like there was much parking.

hiking
11 days ago

There is a fair amount of water running on the trail, but it’s not impassible. Including my group, we saw 17 people hiking to the lake today.

This is such a fun place! Great for swimming towards the end of the hike! Curious...any particular time there are not many yellow jackets? I love this place so much but there were so so many yellow jackets and my daughter was stung twice on the trail. I want to go when they are not swarming :). Gorgeous place and easy trail. So much fun!

backpacking
19 days ago

Gnar

Awesome hike. My boys even said it was easy. Views are spectacular this spring!!!!

backpacking
20 days ago

A spectacular hike that affords plenty of attractions if you are willing to work for them a little. You follow the Creek for the first few miles which culminates in a breathtaking waterfall. Ran into three different washouts of various length, some more treacherous than others, but all doable. This hike earns every bit of it’s hard rating.

It's actually 6.7 miles in and out, a couple of creek crossings but nothing hard, snow at the end but the lake is gorgeous.... so worth it

Amazing trail.
1. $5 fee so have cash or check.
2. On the east side of the lake the water has washed out the trail. You can bravely venture across if you're sure footed (not recommended for kiddos, elderly or dogs who aren't water aware)...downstream 12 feet -ish there is a log you can cross (also not recommended for those mentioned above).
We had an amazing time on this hike and the waterfall area is worth every footstep. Gorgeous!

The hike up currently has a bunch of runoff on the trail for the first 3 miles or so. The last mile of the hike climbs completely through snow. The lake was definitely well worth the hike and looks absolutely terrific.

Love this trail. Well marked. Water is awesome this time of year!

Easy. Beautiful. The creek is very high right now, but if you go later in the summer, there are some sweet swimming holes above the falls a bit. Lots of wildflowers today, and lots of people on the trail. Most folks only go to the falls, though, so if you hike further there's less traffic.

hiking
1 month ago

Absolutely beautiful.
Very easy to do. Not steep at all.

Heavily populated and not hard to find people.

on Bear Creek Overlook Trail

1 month ago

Amazing hike, beautiful view would be really simple without snow. Still quite a bit of snow be prepared to step and fall in if you don’t have snow shoes also be prepared to have no trail to follow.

I agree with previous poster. it was a beautiful hike, but was surprised at the steep climb. Strenuous at times for an old gal like me, but the view was well worth the struggle.

Beautiful view the whole way! The trails were a bit more narrow and steeper than expected but still easy enough for a novice hiker such as myself.

Easy to follow, mostly level, and dead gorgeous. Great way to ease in to the summer hiking season.

First hike of the season. I did the full loop and had a great time. The trail was a bit sloppy in places from the snowmelt but was otherwise easy to follow. Free parking if you go between Labor Day and Memorial Day. Including a break for lunch, it took me just over 3 hours.

fishing
1 month ago

Many of the descriptions people have posted are incorrect. This is a great hike with several potential destinations. The first are a series of falls about 2 miles in. This area is spectacular and fairly busy. Many hikers stop here. At about 3 miles you cross the creek on either a sketchy log or by wading. From there you have several miles of flat thick forest to hike through. At around 7 miles you reach a series of bedrock creek cascades that are gorgeous. This is a possible camp location as well. Once you progress beyond this, there are fairly frequent flat and relatively open areas if you want to camp below Bryan lake. At about 8 miles, you hit Bryan lake. When we did this trail in 2015, there were quite a few logs over the trail in the upper reaches. I don’t know if they have been cleared since.

Trail is in great shape, still was quite a bit of snow. But well worth it!

hiking
3 months ago

So, it was not too smooth in March, but it was a great view regardless and an intense workout.

rock climbing
3 months ago

Beautiful trail, steep incline at first, but levels out through the canyon, which is breathtaking and impressively tall-walled! Young pine forest surroundings. A friend I visited at Missoula State took me climbing here for my first time and it is a memory I will cherish forever.

Still a great trail in December. Found minimal ice, completed in 45 minutes. the wind coming out of the canyon at the top was brutal at 30 degrees in the valley so dress warm.

Did this trail on horse back in summer 2016. Perfect!!

I only went halfway but loved it.

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