Forum Index » Pre-Trip Planning » Bitterroot Nat'l Forest, Idaho/Montana advice


Display Avatars Sort By:
Trek Guy
(trek_guy) - M
Bitterroot Nat'l Forest, Idaho/Montana advice on 04/02/2013 21:11:33 MDT Print View

Hello. I'm planning to visit the Bitterroot National Forest area in Idaho/Montana in late July or early August. Does anyone have advice on a scenic 5 day backpacking route? Thank you for any advice.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re Bitterroot on 04/02/2013 21:21:40 MDT Print View

I only did a couple day hikes along the Bitterroots. They aren't the biggest mountains out west but I liked them. The CDT follows the Bitteroots for a while so that would be an obvious place to check. Your best bet for real wilderness would be the Selway-Bitteroot wilderness. Another option would be the Great Burn Roadless area.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: Bitterroots on 04/03/2013 11:00:47 MDT Print View

Be more specific about your distance goals and other specifics.

Trek Guy
(trek_guy) - M
More specifics on 04/03/2013 11:49:47 MDT Print View

Thanks for the ideas, Luke. And David, here are some specifics.

I'm envisioning a 5 day / 4 night backpacking trip of medium difficulty on marked trails. I don't care much for fishing, though water sources along the way are a plus of course to reduce the amount of water I'd have to carry. Maybe one or two small peaks that provide nice views of the area. I'm looking at July/August, so snow cover obviously won't be a concern. I've heard many of the trails in the area are not maintained, so I'd like to learn about some that are maintained so I won't have to do much bushwacking. Mileage should be in the 10-15 miles per day range. Any other things I should specify?

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: Bitterroots on 04/03/2013 12:53:29 MDT Print View

There aren't a huge number of ready loops to be done out of the main Bitterroot Valley, at least without bushwacking or ridge scrambling. If you can find someone to do the rather long shuttle to the start, I'd do a through hike from Selway Falls up the Selway, up Moose Creek, then over the pass and down Blodgett Canyon. The Selway is gorgeous, Moose Creek has some stunning, massive cedar groves, and Blodget provides great rocky alpine scenery. This might push your mileage limit a bit, but most of the walking is quite easy.

Casey Greene knows the area better than I do and might have some good ideas.

Trek Guy
(trek_guy) - M
Thanks on 04/04/2013 22:52:35 MDT Print View

Great information. Thanks, David!

Ryan Bressler
(ryanbressler) - F
Re: Bitterroot Nat'l Forest, Idaho/Montana advice on 04/05/2013 08:59:05 MDT Print View

We are newish to the area having moved to the valley after a few trips out here so others may have better recommendations but I have few. We had an enjoyable three day trip up into the trail-less high country around the Chaffin lakes. A longer trip up one of Boulder/Trapper/Tin Cup/Big Creek is high on my list after peering down at it from trapper peak.

Unmaintained in the bitterroots doesn't necessarily mean full on bushwhacking as lots of the trails see enough use to keep them easy to follow...just plan on fording streams and hopping downed logs.

If it could be arranged (not sure on legality or cost) a flight into one of the backcountry airstrip would be a an interesting way to arrange a shuttle.

Trek Guy
(trek_guy) - M
Sounds fun on 04/16/2013 18:48:00 MDT Print View

Ryan, your comments were helpful. Thanks. I'll probably have some more questions when the date approaches. But you've given me some helpful advice.

Trek Guy
(trek_guy) - M
Water levels on 05/02/2013 16:21:47 MDT Print View

Does anyone know how the Selway River water levels are looking like this year, based on snowfall? We're thinking of backpacking from Paradise Guard Station to Race Creek Campground (Selway Falls) in mid July. Hoping the water crossings aren't extreme...

Shawn Donnelly
(CanonShooter)

Locale: Western Washington
Re: re: Bitterroots on 05/08/2013 15:43:23 MDT Print View

I am planning a similar hike for the same time frame in that area. What is the distance of the through hike you mentioned?

Ryan Bressler
(ryanbressler) - F
Bitterroot Snow/Water Levels on 05/08/2013 16:38:36 MDT Print View

I still don't know the area well enough to predict water levels that far out but the snow pack in the bitterroots is bellow average:

http://www.nwrfc.noaa.gov/snow/snowplot.cgi?TWLM8

William Segraves
(sbill9000) - F - M
off-trail in Bitterroots on 05/08/2013 17:38:59 MDT Print View

Can any of the Bitterroot experts tell me how feasible it is to do some off-trail scrambling to connect the standard trail routes for a nice loop? If so, it looks from the topos like it might be possible to get over the divide at several places or between the various creek drainages on the east side. Not too steep, by the looks of it, but will it be hopelessly slow bushwhacking for much of the way?

Thanks!

Best,

Bill S.

Trek Guy
(trek_guy) - M
50 miles on 05/08/2013 19:13:35 MDT Print View

Shawn, I have been looking at a 50 mile hike starting at Paradise Guard Station (southeast) and ending at Race Creek Campground (northwest) along the Selway River. I found it to be well documented in this book:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0762770899

Edited by trek_guy on 05/08/2013 19:14:06 MDT.

Shawn Donnelly
(CanonShooter)

Locale: Western Washington
Re: 50 miles on 05/08/2013 22:59:28 MDT Print View

Thanks, I will order the book. I would like to get the distance to the neighborhood of 100 miles or so. We have most of July to work with and we usually average about 15 miles a day although we could more if needed.