Hiked today with the BWAGS on Hell Roaring Creek Trail in the Spanish Creek area. Great little hike of 10.2 miles (per my GPS). I was surprised that only 4 other people showed up. Wonder why, as it was the holiday and a beautiful day. Anyway, it was kind of nice to have a small group.
The trailhead is on Hwy 191 and begins with a steepish up taking switchbacks through forest. Good trail the whole way and filled with wildflowers. One of the other hikers, Judy, knew more about the flowers – she’d just taken a wildflower hike. We saw tons of flowers: various kinds of mustard-related flowers, bluebells, glacier lilies, lupine, biscuit flower, arrow leaf balsamroot, larkspur, pussy toes, clematis, and a beautiful small pink fairy slipper – apparently an orchid and related to lady slippers. What a great time for wildflowers!
Once you reached the top of the first ridge, the trail headed down towards Hell Roaring Creek. You cross a wide wooden bridge and then slowly climb some more, but it hardly feels like a big climb. It seems mostly gently rolling….paralleling the creek. Sometimes you are very near the water and then quite high above it. There was quite a lot of water in the creek rushing downward. Snow is still melting! A group on horseback was coming out…that would be fun. One of these days, I must do a horse trip.
Judy also is interested in birds and told me that Audubon does more hikes through June and then again in September. She is half Chinese and very interested in the history of Chinese in Montana, including in many of the ghost towns. She worked for the BLM in a ghost town for a summer.
We went in for a bit over five miles to the junction with Trail 110 and stopped there for lunch by the creek. Lovely day…warm without being too hot. We had a nice lunch under the trees before heading back the same way. We met more people coming in as we went out…another horse group, doggies, and a few groups of hikers. But for the most part, it was not crowded. This was a very lovely trail and I would do it again in a heartbeat. It also connects to many trails in the Spanish Creek area, where Yeti and I plan to do some short backpacks this summer.
All in all a very nice day.