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!
This week, challenge yourself with a rugged hike through the Scotchman Peaks Proposed Wilderness Area to Star Peak near Libby.
Roundtrip: 10 miles
Elevation Gain: 3,815 feet
Directions: From Missoula, head west on Interstate 90 to Wye and then exit north onto Highway 93 towards Kalispell. At the town of Ravalli, split off to the left onto Highway 200 towards Thompson Falls. Continue all the way through Noxon and the intersection with Highway 56 – there’s you’ll continue on 200 for another six miles, and then at mile post 6.2 you’ll come to Fatman Road, which turns off to the north.
On the south side of this intersection, just past Big Eddy Creek, is a large parking area. Park here and then head about 150 yards up Fatman Road to the trailhead on the right – that’s the beginning of Trail #999.
What to expect: The climb starts off between open cliffs and crosses steep grassy hillsides before entering a thick forest of pine spruce and Douglas fir.
The first half of the route is a “new” old trail – reclaimed tread that was abandoned in the 1940s for a mining exploration road. USFS Trails and Recreation Specialist Joel Sather and volunteers from Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness are to thank for their work improving the hiking experience to one of the oldest Forest Service lookouts in the country.
At about 2.5 miles, the new tread connects with Trail #998 and continues to a summit overlooking the Clark Fork and Bull Rivers, with stellar views in all directions.
Be sure stop and pick some of the plentiful huckleberries which explore along the trail during the summer months!
TIP: There is a large spring near the trailhead, and the trail follows Eddy Creek for about a half mile, but there is no water beyond that so plan accordingly!
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 9:45 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!