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 one lucky listener some cool goodies to help them embark on their journey!
One of just seven places in the world where the rocks will resonate like bells when struck by a hammer
Roundtrip: 5.8 miles
Elevation Gain: 1040 feet
Directions: From Missoula, head east on I-90 about 10 miles past Butte to Exit No. 241 (Pipestone). Turn north at the exit and then immediately take a right onto the gravel frontage road. Cross two cattle guards and a railroad, then at the fork stay left on Route 2. About 2.6 miles from the Interstate exit you’ll see a steeply descending ATV trail on the left. The hike starts here.
What to expect: Hike up the road about 2 miles, crossing a cattle guard and continuing to follow the signs for “Route 2” past a large parking area and on a short rocky section of road to Ringing Rocks.
The rocks are a small part of a mountainous region called the Boulder Batholith, which encompasses a very large portion of southwestern Montana. Why the rocks ring is a mystery. Some scientists have suggested it’s because they contain a significant amount of iron. However, not all of the rocks ring when struck and they don’t ring when rmoved from the site!
For more geologic information – as well as a video of the rocks strange ringing – check out this awesome narrative put together by a teacher at Helena High School.
When you’re done, backtrack about a tenth or two-tenths of a mile to one of the roads labeled Route 6 and take a right. At the bottom of the hill turn left onto Route 9, heading SSW along a gully. Stay left as you descend through rock formations and into a stock pond. Turn left again, heading uphill on ATV trail No. 14 all the way back to Route 2. You should see your car down the road to the right.
Tip: If you forget to bring your hammer or mallet, look for some big bolts on the sign and use one of them to chime the rocks.
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!