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!
Mo Z Trail to Crooked Trail
A short but wonderful hike on Mount Sentinel that sees very little use!
Roundtrip: 4.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 800 feet
Directions: From Higgins Avenue, head up Pattee Canyon Drive about .6 miles to the well-marked trailhead parking lot. It’s at a natural gas utility substation, on the left-hand side of the road. Look for the trailhead sign and the green metal gate.
What to expect: The first third of the hike is the Mo Z trail. Part of Missoula’s open space territory, it starts with a steep climb of about 100 yards and then traverses a three-foot-wide dirt trail.
Take a right at the junction at the top of the hill, right between two ponderosas that stand alone, and then hike steadily uphill through prairie land dominated by native grasses. About a half mile in you’ll meet the single-lane Mount Sentinel fire road.
Turn right onto the road. A left will take you to the Maurice Avenue trailhead in Missoula’s University District neighborhood (about a mile down).
Climb steadily uphill. You’ll meet a junction with wood signs: Follow the one to Crooked Trail No. 302 and the Crazy Canyon Trailhead in Pattee Canyon.
Beyond this sign the trail flattens out and is sparsely used. You’ve now left Missoula’s open space territory and are in Lolo National Forest.
The views of the rolling prairie, Pattee Canyon and the Missoula Valley are gorgeous here. The prairie is dotted with ponderosa pines and there are lots of western meadowlarks singing their lovely songs in the spring.
At 2.2 miles you enter dense forest, which is the turn-around point for this hike. If you want to go further, it is 1.5 miles to the Crazy Canyon trailhead in Pattee Canyon.
Tip: Dogs may be off-leash 200 yards from the trailhead, but they must stay within 75 feet of dog owners. Free dog leashes are available at the trailhead.
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!