Each Friday, in partnership with Montana Wilderness Association we will feature a new western Montana trail, give you some helpful details and tips to get on your way and then give one lucky listener a chance to win a pair of lift tickets!
Fortunately – or unfortunately, depending on how you like your winters – it seems it won’t be long before we’re sharing our favorite cross country ski trails. But, in the meantime, this weekend Craig offers up another cool little local trail close to home.
Vista Point Loop
The hike to Vista Point loop is a pretty little loop with great views located just two miles south of Missoula in the Blue Mountain Recreation Area!
Roundtrip: 4 miles
Elevation Gain: 800 feet
Directions: When you head south on Brooks, it will turn into U.S. 93. Just before you leave town there’s a stoplight at Blue Mountain Road. Turn right there and then drive a half-mile to its junction with Forest Hill Road. Take a left – you’ll see the huge parking area.
What to expect: This hike is part of a complex of 41 trails in what was part of the Missoula Military Reservation until 1952.
Take trail 3.04 through the big field and down a one-lane former road. At three-fourths of a mile the trail curves to the right then heads north along the base of the mountain.
After about a mile and a quarter, turn left onto trail 3.06. Be sure to get a photo at strangely bent tree at about 100 yards! After that, you’ll switchback up the hill for about three quarters of a mile to Vista Point. There you will enjoy great views of the Bitterroot River and the Missoula Valley.
From the top, head down the backside (southwest) and in about a quarter mile you’ll come to the junction of trails 3.06 and 3.05. Go right on trail 3.05 and head downhill. Hike 200 yards and turn right at trail 3.03. You’ll pass a very large rock sitting by itself. After a half mile from the top of Vista Point you’ll join the original road/trail 3.04. Go right and follow the old road back along the base of the mountain and through the field to the trailhead.
Tip: Dogs are allowed to be off-leash, making this a favorite hiking area for folks with dogs!
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!