Kootenai Creek Trail LbNA # 7888
|Placed Date||Apr 16 2004|
Kootenai Creek Trail #53 is our favorite canyon hike in the Bitterroot Mountains. It is a beautiful hike and closely follows the creek much of the way. Access the trail off of Highway 93. Drive nearly 7 miles south of Florence and turn west onto North Kootenai Creek Road. (This intersection is 1 mile north of the Stevensville junction.) Proceed west on improved road for 2 miles. Parking for several cars and a stock ramp are available. There are no rest facilities. The first 1/2 mile of the hike is on private property. There are several towering rock cliffs along this portion of the trail. It is a popular spot for rockclimbers to hone their skills. If you are lucky you may see some.
Letterbox Number 1 - Lewisia rediviva
This letterbox is significant to the State of Montana, to Corps of Discovery buffs, and to Western Montana Indians. To find the box hike .68 mile north on the trail. You will pass the Forest Service boundry sign. At this point, the trail comes very close to the creek. To the right of the trail you will see a large boulder with a brown Forest Service sign post beside it. The letterbox is behind the boulder a short distance up the hill (approximately 15 paces) under a triangular shaped rock and covered by a flat rock and leaves. (The triangular rock is approximately 20 to 25 feet off of the trail.) The hillside is granite cliff and to the right of the letterbox you will see a cluster of four birch trees with a single smaller tree 5 feet from the triangular shaped rock.
When you discover the significance of this letterbox, please send us an e-mail.
Letterbox Number 2 - Dermacentor andersoni or Wood tick
The wood tick is a nasty little critter who has made life difficult for those living and recreating in the Bitterroot and Missoula Valleys for centuries. A bite from an infected tick can cause Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Until the advent of modern medicines, this fever caused many early Montanans to die. The ticks show up in early spring and hibernate with the arrival of warm weather in late June or early July. To find the Wood tick letterbox, continue hiking from the Lewisia rediviva letterbox to a spot approximately 1 mile from the trailhead. You will pass on your left (creekside) a cluster of 3 broken-off snags. The trail will open up to a lovely picnic spot complete with a sitting rock for viewing Kootenai Creek as it rushes by. In this clearing are several large Ponderosa pine trees. You will see a large Ponderosa pine tree 20 paces off of the trail to the right of the trail. The wook tick letterbox can be found 12 paces behind this tree between 2 small spruce trees and under a rock.
Enjoy hiking this trail. The fall is an especially nice time of year to take this hike because of all the colorful leaves pooled on rocks in the creek.
Rockmover and Quiltmaker