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!
We’re still waiting for the snowpack to dissipate in some of the higher elevation areas, so this week Craig has picked a relatively easy, relatively close hike that doesn’t include much climbing.
Welcome Creek Trail #225 to Cinnabar Cabin
A short, easy hike along Welcome Creek with talus slope views to the remains of an old cabin!
Round Trip: 5 miles
Total Elevation Gain: 300 feet
Directions: From Missoula, head east on I-90 about 20 miles and take Exit 126 at Rock Creek Road. Head up the road for a bit over 13 miles until you reach the large trailhead.
What to expect: Trail highlights include views of talus slopes, cliffs and rock formations, and – of course – views of Welcome Creek.
The single-track path is fairly level, with a few climbs and dips here and there, but with no difficult or sustained elevation gains. The trail is rocky and uneven at points, especially when it crosses talus fans – and in a few spots between talus fans there is some braiding of the trail that can be overgrown at times.
This trail begins by crossing over Rock Creek on an iconic suspension bridge, crosses Welcome Creek on a log bridge shortly after, and then follows the creek up a canyon that narrows after the first mile or so.
The trail crosses the creek again at about 2.5 miles and then almost immediately reaches the site of the former Cinnabar Cabin and the confluence of Welcome Creek with Cinnabar Creek.
The Cinnabar Cabin burned during a forest fire in the mid-2000s. A few rusting relics of the mining trade litter the ground at this spot, and the confluence is pleasant – but otherwise it is simply a wide spot in the trail. Most hikers turn back at this point for a 5-mile day hike.
Tip: For those interested in a longer trip, we encourage you to continue on Welcome Creek Trail #225 to Carron Cabin for another 2.5 miles (or 10 miles total round-trip). To get there, cross Cinnabar Creek and head slightly uphill while paralleling Welcome Creek and look for the trail in about 50 feet or so.
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!