Idaho Batholith, Part B

The entry includes the national forests, national parks, federal reservoirs, and national trail system in the Idaho Batholith section of the South-Central Rockies forests. These areas are noted for alpine scenery, glacial features, salmon spawning areas, larch and fir forests, meadows, and hot springs.

The Deerlodge National Forest (NF), Montana, is 1.2 million acres and includes the Upper Rock Creek and Clark Fork areas in the Idaho batholith section of the South Central Rockies forests. The Clark Fork Flint Landscape includes the Georgetown Lake Recreation Areas (N46˚11’ W113˚17’) with Lodgepole NRT and ski trails on the north side of the Anaconda Range. It also includes the Flint Creek Range and John Long Mountains visible from I-90 between Butte and Missoula. Racetrack Campground (N46˚17’ W112˚56’) provides access to trails to alpine lakes in the Flint Creek Range.

In the Upper Rock Creek Landscape, Rock Creek (N46˚21’ W113˚56’) is considered eligible for the wild and scenic river system. The West Fork Buttes Botanical Area (N46˚15’ W113˚36’) is a grassland with populations of two rare species, Payson’s bladderpod and Missoula phlox. Crystal Creek trailhead (N46˚13’ W113˚45’) provides access to the Easthouse NRT. Squaw Rock Campground on Rock Creek (N46˚21’ W113˚36’) provides access to scenic Stony Lake (N46˚17’ W113˚45’) and Easthouse NRT. Sapphire Divide RNA (N46˚6’ W113˚46’), Bitterroot and Deerlodge NFs, is southeast of Hamilton along the Sapphire Mountain crest, including Congdon and Fox Peaks and Jerry Lake in the Skalkaho Creek watershed. It contains subalpine larch at timberline. There is a cirque and lake at the base of Congdon Peak in the Deerlodge NF.

In the Anaconda Range in the Upper Rock Creek Landscape are three RNAs. Dexter Basin RNA (N46˚3’ W113˚25’) includes two cirques on the north slope of the Anaconda Range, forested with larch and subalpine fir. Goat Flat RNA N46˚4’ W113˚16’ is on a glacial cirque on the Continental Divide near Storm Lake. There are 11 rare plants on the alpine plateau, which includes Little Rainbow Mountain.  Windy Ridge RNA (N46˚8’ W113˚21’) is on Forest Road 672 between East Fork Reservoir and Georgetown Lake. It is a grassland with five rare grape ferns and a large population of moonwort.

Southwest of Butte and to the west of I-15, Beaver Dam Campground (N45˚53’ W112˚47’) provides access to Fleecer Ridge and the Continental Divide NST. The area around Butte is the Upper Clark Fork Landscape part of the forest.

Lolo NF, Montana, is 2.1 million acres, and includes the Sapphire and John Long Mountains in the South Central Rockies forest ecoregion. Pattee Canyon Recreation area (N46˚50’ W113˚55’) is east of Missoula on Pattee Canyon Road with 27 miles of trails including the Sam Braxton NRT south of the picnic area.  Along Rock Creek are a number of recreation and hiking areas, including Big Hogback Ridge (N46˚25’ W113˚42’), Bitterroot Flat (N46˚28’ W113˚47’), and Welcome Creek Wilderness. Plant Creek RNA (N46˚43’ W113˚53’) is a 300-year-old western larch forest with a spring, found off of Forest Highway 37 south of Missoula in the Sapphire Mountains.

Nez Perce NF, Idaho, is 2.2 million acres, and includes the southern slopes of the Clearwater Mountains in the South Central Rockies forest ecoregion. Most of the forest is in the North Central Rockies forest ecoregion and is discussed elsewhere. Forest Highway 221 extends from Riggins Hot Springs on the Salmon River (N45˚25’ W116˚11’) north to Rocky Bluff Campground on the Gospel Hump Wilderness Boundary (N45˚36’ W116˚1’), then north to Fish Creek Meadow (N45˚51’ W116˚5’). Forest Highway 243 extends from Cold Springs Saddle (N45˚43’ W116˚3’) west to White Bird (N45˚47’ W116˚17’). The Salmon River east of Riggins, Idaho, features a dry, open ponderosa pine forest which houses the densest known population of Lewis’s woodpeckers and is an Important Bird Area. No Business Creek RNA (N45˚37’ W116˚8’) is a watershed that drains north to Slate Creek and the Salmon River, forested with grand fir and subalpine fir. Moose Meadow Creek RNA (N45˚38’ W115˚29’) is east of the Gospel Hump Wilderness and features wet meadows, sphagnum bogs, and lodgepole pine forests.

Payette NF, Idaho, consists of 2.3 million acres in both the Salmon River Mountains to the east of US Route 95 and the Hells Canyon area to the west of US 95. In the Idaho batholith ecoregion, one of the more remote areas in the forest is centered on Big Creek (N45˚8’ W115˚19’), a mining area with a guard station and airstrip south of the Salmon River and east of Warren. To the west of Big Creek is the South Fork Salmon River, which hosts rare wild Chinook salmon, steelhead, and bull trout. Within the South Fork Salmon River management area is Circle End Creek RNA (N45˚4’ W115˚41’) on a small tributary of the South Fork Salmon River, downstream of the Secesh River confluence, forested with ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir. Also in the management area is Phoebe Meadows RNA (N44˚56’ W115˚40’), located on Indian Ridge between the South Fork Salmon River and East Fork Salmon River. These are high elevation wet sedge meadows surrounded by Douglas-fir and subalpine fir forest in the Salmon River Mountains.

The Upper Secesh River region of the forest is reached via the Warren Wagon Road (Forest Road 21), which begins at McCall on Payette Lake (N44˚55’ W116˚7’), then passes Upper Payette Lake (N45˚8’ W116˚1’) and Burgdorf Hot Springs (N45˚17’ W115˚55’) along the Secesh River before turning east to Warren (N45˚16’ W115˚41’). From Burgdorf Hot Springs, Forest Road 246 climbs over the divide and descends 4,000 feet in elevation down to the Salmon River at French Creek via a series of switchbacks called the Fingers (N45˚25’ W116˚2’). The Warren Mining District is a historic site in the forest. In the Warren area, Pony Meadows RNA (N45˚11’ W115˚41’) includes a wet meadow, lake, and bogs in a cirque basin with boulder fields on a tributary of the South Fork Salmon River.

To the north of McCall and east of US 95 is the Lake Creek/French Creek management area. Lava Ridge NRT bisects the area. Lava Butte RNA (N45˚17’ W116˚7’) contains a granitic cirque and a basalt cirque along a ridgeline; glacial basins contain a wet sedge meadow and the Lava Butte Lakes. This ridge is south of the Salmon River between French Creek and US Route 95.  Bruin Mountain (N45˚11’ W116˚7’) contains a hanging valley, and Patrick Butte (N45˚19’ W116˚12’) contains subalpine plants.

North and east of McCall in the Idaho batholith are the Payette Lakes. The Slick Rock proposed NNL is a rock climbing area near McCall. Forest Road 674 begins at Warm Lake (N44˚40’ W115˚42’) in the Boise National Forest and provides a scenic drive along the South Fork Salmon River to the confluence with the East Fork of the South Fork Salmon River (N45˚1’ W115˚43’). Forest Road 48 extends from there west over the Lick Creek Summit (N45˚2’ W115˚56’) to McCall. To the west of the Payette Lakes is the Goose Creek/Hazard Creek management area, which features the Brundage Mountain Resort (N45˚0’ W116˚9’). A trail leads to Goose Creek Falls. Hard Creek (N45˚8’ W116˚13’) and Hazard Creek (N45˚13′ W116˚13’), tributaries to the Little Salmon River at US 95, are scenic streams that are considered eligible for the wild and scenic river system.

Salmon NF, Idaho, is 1.8 million acres and managed with the Challis NF, including parts of the Salmon River Mountains, Beaverhead Mountains, northern Lemhi Range. The Salmon River Mountains section of the forest includes areas east and north of the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. From North Fork (N45˚24’ W112˚0’) in the Salmon River Mountains on US 93, Forest Highway 30 can be driven along the Salmon Wild and Scenic River for 46 miles west to Corn Creek (N45˚22’ W114˚41’).  Forest Road 55 follows Panther Creek upstream from the Salmon River to Forney and then Forest Road 112 heads west to Crags Campground (N45˚6’ W114˚31’), which provides access to the Bighorn Crags in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, which are soaring white granite needles. The Yellowjacket Guard Station (N45˚0’ W114˚29’) is the site of a 1930s CCC camp and is on the NRHP.  The Leesburg ghost town (N45˚13’ W114˚7’), on Napias Creek west of Salmon, was the site of a gold mining area beginning in 1866. Allan Mountain RNA (N45˚36’ W114˚3’) is a 9,000-foot mountain near the Montana border west of US Route 93. It supports subalpine larch at the southern limit of its range, along with beargrass, grasslands, and lateral and terminal moraines. Dry Gulch-Forge Creek RNA (N44˚54’ W114˚34’) is on the boundary of the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness and contains hot springs on Forge Creek, a 75-foot waterfall, and forests of Douglas-fir, aspen, mountain mahogany, and sagebrush-grasslands. Colson Creek RNA (N45˚15’ W114˚32’) is an area of sagebrush-grass in the Salmon River canyon upstream from the Middle Fork Salmon junction. The Salmon River canyon is a transition between sagebrush-steppe and grassland to the west.

In the northern Lemhi Mountains are three RNAs. Bear Valley Creek RNA (N44˚48’ W113˚48’) extends from low elevation sagebrush-grass to alpine conditions in the northern Lemhi Mountains. There is an area of land slippage and snow slide erosion. Mill Lake RNA (N44˚39’ W113˚13’) is an alpine area along a 10,000-foot spine of the Lemhi Range with small lakes and wet meadows. There is a small cirque, evidence of alpine glaciation. Sheep Mountain RNA (N44˚23’ W113˚17’) is a 10,000-foot ridge in the Lemhi Range with whitebark pine and alpine vegetation on the boundary between the Challis and Salmon NFs.

In the Beaverhead Mountains section of the forest is Lemhi Pass NHL (see), Continental Divide NST (see), and Lewis and Clark NHT (see). Davis Canyon RNA (N45˚19’ W113˚45’) is on the continental Divide at Ajax Mountain. This high elevation watershed is dominated by rock talus and a canyon with boulder fields. It is forested with Douglas-fir and beargrass at its southern limit.

Sawtooth National Forest, Idaho, is 1.7 million acres. The northern portion of this forest is in the South-Central Rockies forests. Notable mountains  in the South-Central Rockies portion include the Sawtooth, Boulder, White Cloud, Smoky, and Pioneer ranges. The forest also extends south into the Snake-Columbia shrub steppe and Great Basin shrub-steppe.

The forest includes the southern part of the Idaho Batholith east of Featherville. The Middle and Upper South Fork Boise River Management areas are upstream from Anderson Ranch Reservoir and include numerous hot springs. Along the South Fork Boise are the Willow Hot Springs (N43˚36’ W115˚9’), Baumgartner Hot Spring (N43˚36’ W115˚4’), and Lightfoot Hot Springs (N42˚36’ W114˚57’). On Big Smoky Creek, a tributary to the South Fork Boise, are Skillern Hot Springs (N43˚39’ W114˚49’). On Little Smoky Creek are Worswick Hot Springs (N43˚34’ W114˚48’) and Preis Hot Springs (N43˚35’ W114˚50’). The Idaho Centennial Trail enters the forest in this area and proceeds north. The southernmost mountain range overlooking the Camas Prairie is the Soldier Mountains, where there is a ski area (N43˚29’ W114˚50’).

To the east of the South Fork Boise River watershed is the Big Wood River watershed and the Ketchum area, where there are 250 miles of trails in the Pioneer Mountains. North of Sun Valley Ski Area in the Pioneer Mountains, Trail Creek (N43˚49’ W114˚16’) and North Fork Hyndman Creek (N43˚44’ W114˚11’) are considered eligible for the wild and scenic river system. Basin Gulch RNA (N43˚49’ W114˚17’) is in the Boulder Mountains near Trail Creek Summit north of Sun Valley. This watershed has old growth whitebark and limber pine, avalanche paths, scree meadows, two cirques, and waterfalls.

In the Little Wood River Management Area in the Pioneer Mountains to the north of Carey Idaho, Box Canyon (N43˚43’ W114˚2’) and Muldoon Creek (N43˚38’ W113˚52’) are considered eligible for the wild and scenic river system.

Sawtooth National Recreation Area (NRA), Idaho, is a 756,000-acre area between Ketchum and Stanley with evergreen forests aspen, and sagebrush meadows. The NRA includes the Sawtooth Range, Sawtooth Valley, White Cloud Peaks, Smoky Mountains, and Boulder Mountains. To the South of Stanley, the Sawtooth Scenic Byway climbs Galena Summit. To the east of Stanley, Route 75 is the Salmon River Scenic Byway. To the northwest of Stanley, Route 21 is the Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway, extending to Boise.

In the Upper Salmon River valley along State Route 75, Redfish Lake (N44˚9’ W114˚55’) has a visitor center and lodging, which is also available at five other resorts. Trailheads are at Pettit Lake (N43˚59’ W114˚52’) and Alturas Lake (N45˚55’ W114˚52’) in the Sawtooth Valley. The Stanley area is a float trip headquarters. Sawtooth Hatchery (N44˚10’ W114˚53’), built by the USACE and operated by the Idaho Game and Fish Department, produces Chinook and steelhead salmon to compensate for the lower Snake River dams, which blocked the salmon runs. Rivers eligible for the wild and scenic river system in the Sawtooth Valley include Salmon River (N44˚4’ W114˚52’), Goat Creek (N44˚12’ W114˚59’), Fishhook Creek (N44˚8’ W114˚58’), Hell Roaring Creek (N44˚2’ W114˚53’), Yellowbelly Lake Creek (N44˚0’ W114˚53’), Alturas lake Creek (N43˚58’ W114˚50’), and Beaver Creek (N43˚52’ W114˚52’). Pole Creek Exclosure RNA (N43˚55’ W114˚44’) is at the head of the wide Sawtooth Valley to the east of State Route 75 and is vegetated with sagebrush, pine, and willow. Redfish Lake Moraine RNA (N44˚6’ W114˚55’) is a large glacial moraine on the east shore of Redfish Lake covered with lodgepole pine forest. Sawtooth Valley Peatlands RNA (N44˚4’ W114˚53’) is at Decker Flat on Huckleberry Creek in the Sawtooth Valley to the west of State Route 75. Three peat bogs, one of which is on a terrace 20 to 30 feet higher than the adjacent bogs, are found here.

Along Route 21 to the northwest of Stanley, a trailhead is at Stanley Lake (N44˚15’ W115˚4’). Rivers eligible for the wild and scenic river system include Elk Creek (N44˚16’ W115˚7’) and Stanley Lake Creek (N44˚14’ W115˚5’). The Grandjean area of the NRA (N44˚10’ W115˚10’), accessed from Route 21 in the Boise NF, includes a trailhead for the South Fork Payette River, which is also eligible for the wild and scenic river system.

To the east of Route 75 are the White Cloud Mountains and the East Fork of the Salmon River, an area of 11,000-foot peaks. Railroad Ridge (N44˚9’ W114˚31’) has unique alpine fell-field botanical areas. Along Route 75 the Salmon River is an eligible wild and scenic river. There are numerous hot springs along the Salmon River. Sunbeam Hot Springs (N44˚16’ W114˚45’) are 11 miles east of Stanley on State Route 75 and offer rock-lined soaking pools. Warm Springs Creek (N44˚13’ W114˚42’), a tributary to the Salmon from the south, is also eligible. The East Fork Salmon River (N43˚57’ W114˚31’) and tributaries Boulder Chain Lakes Creek (N44˚4’ W114˚35’), Little Boulder Creek (N44˚4’ W114˚31’), Germania Creek (N43˚59’ W114˚37’), West Fork East Fork Salmon (N43˚55’ W114˚36’), South Fork East Fork Salmon (N43˚54’ W114˚34’), and West Pass Creek (N43˚58’ W114˚27’) are also eligible. There is a hot spring on West Pass Creek.

To the south of Galena Summit, Route 75 follows the Big Wood River (N43˚49’ W114˚37’), which is considered eligible for a wild and scenic river. Easley Hot Springs Resort (N43˚47’ W114˚33’) is along the Big Wood River. The West Fork North Fork Big Wood River (N43˚52’ W114˚28’) and North Fork Big Wood River (N43˚51’ W114˚26’) are also considered eligible for the wild and scenic river system

Targhee NF, Idaho-Wyoming, includes two areas in the Idaho Batholith section of the South Central Rockies Forests in its 1.6 million acres. In the southeastern section of the Lemhi Range are four brick charcoal kilns (N44˚19’ W113˚11’) that remain from an operation that furnished charcoal to Nicholle smelters. Copper Mountain RNA (N44˚10’ W112˚50’) is a 10,000-foot mountain on a ridge projecting into the Snake River Plain with alpine vegetation on a calcareous substrate. Meadow Canyon RNA (N44˚14’ W113˚10’) is an east-facing slope in the Lemhi Range, containing the finest alpine tundra in Idaho. Bell Mountain on the border with the Challis NF in the RNA is the only known location of three species of columbine in Idaho.

In the Medicine Lodge Mountains (south end of the Beaverhead Mountains), the Webber Creek Trail (N44˚22’ W112˚43) leads to a lake at the base of Scott Peak. The Stoddard-Van Noy Trail (N44˚25’ W112˚13’) is a six-mile loop off of I-15, exit 184. Webber Creek RNA (N44˚22’ W112˚47’) contains the complete watershed of the North Fork Webber Creek and is along the Continental Divide. The RNA includes the summit plateau of 10,000-foot Scott Peak, delta mudflats at a lake, and vegetation of mountain big sagebrush, Douglas-fir, and whitebark pine, typically found further east.

The National Park System in the South Central Rockies forests, Idaho Batholith section, includes the Nez Perce National Historical Park, Idaho-Montana-Oregon-Washington, which commemorates 38 sites, as well as stories and artifacts of the Nez Perce Tribe. There are two sites in the Idaho Batholith. White Bird Battlefield, Idaho (N45˚47’ W116˚17’) is on US 95 south of Grangeville on the northwestern edge of the ecoregion. This site was the first battle of the Nez Perce War, which resulted in a defeat of the U.S. Calvary and the beginning of the Nez Perce flight to try to escape the Army. Big Hole National Battlefield (N45˚39’ W113˚39’), Montana, contains approximately one-half mile of trails leading to important sites of the 1877 battlefield, including the Nez Perce campsite and the siege site where the soldiers were penned down.

Federal recreation lakes in the South Central Rockies Forest, Idaho Batholith section, include two facilities on the Payette River watershed. Cascade Reservoir, Bureau of Reclamation, Idaho (N44˚34’ W116˚6’) is 30,000 acres providing irrigation storage for the Boise Project and regulated flow for the powerplant at Black Canyon Diversion Dam. It is located on the North Fork Payette River. Boise National Forest-managed property is on the west side of the reservoir. Campgrounds and boat ramps are managed by Lake Cascade State Park. Cascade Reservoir is an Important Bird Area for the western grebe, hosting up to three percent of the world’s population. Deadwood Reservoir, Bureau of Reclamation, Idaho (N44˚18’ W115˚40’) is a 3,000-acre reservoir in the Boise NF on the Deadwood River.  It provides irrigation storage for the Boise Project and regulated flow for the powerplant at Black Canyon Diversion Dam.

The National trail system in the Idaho Batholith section of the South Central Rockies forests includes a National Scenic Trail (NST), two National Historic Trails (NHTs), and 20 national recreation trails (NRTs). The Continental Divide NST is 3,100 miles from Mexico to Canada; sections in the south-central Rockies, Idaho Batholith, traverse the Targhee NF, Beaverhead NF, Salmon NF, Bitterroot NF, Anaconda-Pintlar Wilderness, and Deerlodge NF. The Nez Perce NHT, Idaho-Montana, consists of three sites in the Idaho Batholith section of the South-Central Rockies forests. This trail commemorates the Nez Perce flight from the US Army in 1877. After leaving the Bitterroot Valley, both the fleeing Indians and the U.S. Army camped in Ross Hole (N45˚51’ W113˚58’). In the Bitterrroot National Forest, Trail 406 extends three miles from Indian Trees Campground on US  Route 93 to Forest Route 1206 on the Continental Divide (N45˚44’ W113˚54’) and is a verified section of the original trail used by both the tribe in their flight from the soldiers and Lewis and Clark in their return from the Pacific. Forest Road 106 from Sula over Gibbons Pass (N45˚45’ W113˚55’) is an alternate driving route of the original trail. The Army caught up with the Nez Perce at the site of today’s Big Hole National Battlefield, on the edge of the Anaconda Mountains. After the battle, the Nez Perce retreated and camped at Skinner Meadows (N45˚1’ W113˚31’) on Forest Road 381 in the Beaverhead NF. After obtaining horses in Horse Prairie, the Nez Perce are believed to have crossed into Idaho at Bannock Pass (N44˚49’ W113˚17’). The Frontier Soldiers Grave, Idaho (N44˚27’ W112˚14’), located in the Pleasant Valley near Exit 190 on I-15, was the site where a casualty of the Camas Battlefield was buried.

The Lewis and Clark NHT in the Idaho Batholith section of the South Central Rockies forest includes three sites. Lemhi Pass is described previously in Part A under NHLs. Lost Trail Pass, Idaho-Montana (N45˚42’ W113˚57’) was crossed by Lewis and Clark because the 5,000-foot-deep canyon of the Salmon River was deemed unsuitable as a passage to the Columbia River.  The pass led them into the Bitterroot Valley. Sacajawea Interpretive, Cultural, educational, and Events Center, City of Salmon, Idaho (N45˚9’ W113˚52’) is a 71-acre site on State Route 28 and the Lemhi River, providing a museum and trails commemorating the role of Sacajawea in the expedition.

National Recreation Trails (NRTs) in the Idaho Batholith section of the South Central Rockies forests include 20 trails.  In the Boise Mountains are two NRTs. William Pogue NRT, Boise NF, Idaho (N43˚41’ W115˚40’), extends from the Boise River southeast to Big Roaring River Lake Campground and follows Sheep Creek, which provides scenic vistas and rock formations. The lower western end about eight miles upstream from Arrowrock Reservoir begins in grassland and ponderosa pine while the southeastern end south of Big Roaring River Lake is in Douglas-fir forests. Whoop-um-up Ski NRT, Boise NF, Idaho (N43˚58’ W115˚38’), is in the Boise NF northeast of Idaho City near Edna Creek Campground; this two-mile ski trail connects to 28 other miles of groomed trails.

In the Salmon River Mountains are two NRTs. Knapp Creek-Loon Creek NRT, Challis NF and Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, is a 20-mile trail which connects Knapp Creek (N44˚25’ W115˚2’) with Loon Creek (N44˚33’ W114˚51’), passing 10,000-foot peaks and cirque lakes along with gray, white, and red rock peaks. Lava
Ridge NRT
, Payette NF, Idaho (N45˚17’ W116˚8’) is 7.5 miles, passing large granite bluffs, cliffs, Lava Butte Lakes, and a fire lookout overlooking the Salmon Wild River. It is accessed from the Salmon River at Howard Ranch (north end) or from Big Hazard Lake (south end).

In the Sawtooth Range are four NRTs. Bald Mountain NRT, BLM, Idaho (N43˚39’ W114˚25’), is a five-mile trail which climbs Bald Mountain from the town of Ketchum. Big Wood River NRT, Sawtooth NF, Idaho (N43˚45’ W114˚23’), is a two-mile trail on the west side of State Route 75 connects the Lake Creek and Fox Creek trailheads three miles north of Ketchum, Idaho. Fishhook Creek Nature Trail NRT, Sawtooth NRA, Idaho (N44˚9’ W114˚55’), is a one-fourth mile trail which begins at the Redfish Lake visitor center and passes wetlands before ending at a salmon spawning area in Fishhook Creek. Wood River Nature NRT, Sawtooth NRA, Idaho (N43˚47’ W114˚32’), is a one-fourth mile nature trail on State Route 75 at Wood River Campground 12 miles north of Ketchum.

In the Lemhi Range, Bear Valley NRT, Salmon National Forest, Idaho (N44˚48’ W113˚51’) is a six-mile trail which follows Bear Valley Creek to the 9,000-foot Bear Valley Lakes in the high country of the Lemhi Range south of Lemhi, Idaho. Mill Creek-Main Fork NRT, Challis NF, Idaho (N44˚24’ W113˚21’) is a remote trail accessible from Sawmill Canyon road off of Little Lost/Pashimeroi Road 37 miles north of Howe. The trail passes Mill Creek Lake and Firebox Meadows, then loops to Main Fork.

In the Beaverhead Mountains, Divide-Twin Creek NRT, Salmon NF, Idaho (N45˚38’ W114˚2’) begins at the town of North Fork. The 19-mile trail heads north, then west up Twin Creek to the Continental Divide, then north to Lost Trail Pass on US 93 at the Montana State Line. May Creek NRT, Beaverhead NF, Montana and Salmon NF, Idaho (N45˚39’ W113˚50’) is west of Big Hole National Battlefield at May Creek Campground on State Route 43; the seven-mile-long path connects with the Continental Divide NST along May Creek through a lodgepole pine forest in the Beaverhead Mountains.

In the Sapphire Range, Sam Braxton NRT, Lolo NF, Montana (N46˚50’ W113˚56’), is a 3.5-mile trail is at the Pattee Canyon Recreation Area on Pattee Canyon Road five miles southeast of Missoula. Easthouse NRT, Bitterroot, Deerlodge, and Lolo NFs, Montana, begins at Sawmill Saddle (N46˚27’ W113˚51’) on Forest Road 710 east of Stevensville and ends 20 miles to the south at Skalkaho Pass (N46˚15’ W113˚46’) on State Route 38, following the Sapphire Mountains ridge. A spur of the NRT connects with the Palisade Mountain NRT, extending the trail opportunities. Palisade Mountain NRT, Bitterroot NF, Montana (N46˚18’ W113˚52’), is east of Corvallis on Forest Road 1348. This six-mile trail connects with a spur to the Easthouse NRT.

In the Pioneer Mountains, Grasshopper Ridge Ski NRT, Beaverhead NF, Montana (N45˚28’ W113˚7’) is a 3.5-mile trail off the Pioneer Mountain National Scenic Byway (Forest Highway 73) at Elkhorn Hot Springs. Pioneer Loop NRT, Beaverhead NF, Montana, is a 35-mile trail passing through the West Pioneer Mountains and following the crest. The north trailhead is on Forest Highway 73 south of Wise River (N45˚43’ W113˚1’). The trail proceeds west to Foolhen Mountain (N45˚45’ W113˚11’), south to Schwinegar Lake (N45˚35’ W113˚15’), then east to Lacy Creek Road (N45˚36’ W113˚10’) (Forest Road 1299). Wise River-Elkhorn Hot Springs Snowmobile NRT, Beaverhead NF, Montana (N45˚43’ W113˚1’ to N45˚27’ W113˚7’), is a 23-mile winter trail which connects Wise River with Elkhorn Hot Springs along the Pioneer Mountains National Scenic Byway.

Garnet Winter NRT, BLM, Montana (N46˚53’ W113˚28’) is a 30-mile trail beginning on State Route 200 30 miles east of Missoula at the Greenough Post Office and offering views of the Blackfoot River Valley from the Garnet Range. Lodgepole NRT, Deerlodge NF, Montana (N46˚13’ W113˚16’), is a 3.5-mile loop trail in the Flint Creek Range beginning at the Lodgepole Campground/Flint Creek Dam ten miles south of Phillipsburg on State Route 1.

(to be continued)