Montana Outdoors

May 2, 2008

Spring Creek

Who would not like to walk along this stream on a cool spring day? Today I was able to make it about two miles up the Spring Creek trail before the stretches of deep snow across it made it more tiring than it was worth. In a week or so maybe the snow will have melted enough to make it passable.

The first two miles proved to be a steep hike for as the stream cascades down, the trail beside it changes elevation 900 feet in the first two miles reaching 3,400 feet elevation at that point. The rest of the trail will also be steep though because after another five miles the top is at 6,900 feet. I really look forward to being able to hike the whole length!

At its mouth, the Spring Creek canyon enters the Weeksville Creek canyon a few miles upstream from the Clark Fork river, but Spring Creek itself goes underground about a mile short of Weeksville Creek and I presume simply serves to supply the underground water table. If so, it’s possible the sweet cold water in my well at home may be coming from this beautiful little stream.

As you might notice, I got a little carried away with photographing the creek, but it’s inspiring and comforting to me to be near an ice cold stream of pure water, the thing that makes life on this planet possible in the first place.

Spring Creek

Spring Creek

Spring Creek

Spring Creek

Spring Creek

(Spring Creek originates in the TeePee-Spring Creek roadless area in the Cabinet Mountains of western Montana, Lolo National Forest.)


  1. well water like this must be refreshing indeed! these are gorgeous pictures! what a hike that must have been and will be. can’t imagine that change in elevation. that kind of workout definitely beats going to a gym any day!!


    Comment by silken — May 2, 2008 @ 10:04 pm

  2. Yes, I’ll take that workout rather than paying to go to a gym. It does a lot for the soul as well as the body. I’m totally amazed that more folks here don’t take advantage of these places. I almost never see anyone else on the trails. This one may only get several visitors in a summer, especially after the first couple of miles. I won’t complain though because I love the solitude.

    You really have to condition for the elevation changes, and especially once you reach the higher areas. I get used to the exertion at 2,500 feet but it’s a new game entirely at 7,000. When I take this trail to the top I’ll stay one night at least in the high country rather than make a physical ordeal out of it and do it in a day.


    Comment by montucky — May 2, 2008 @ 10:33 pm

  3. Great photos, I feel like I was right there. What type of camera do you use. Your flower shots have been spectacular!


    Comment by Cedar — May 3, 2008 @ 8:09 am

  4. Thanks, Cedar!

    My camera is a Kodak Z712IS. It’s inexpensive but quite versatile and small so it’s easy to take on long and difficult hikes. For image quality I would like to have a better one, but can’t afford it and don’t want the additional weight and bulk of the good lenses. The trade-off isn’t too bad.

    Thanks for visiting!


    Comment by montucky — May 3, 2008 @ 8:43 am

  5. I can hear and smell the creek. Intimate shots. I feel like I am there. What a scenic place. Thank you. I don’t blame you for posting so many. How would you have ever chosen one over the other? They are all great.


    Comment by nouveaufauves — May 3, 2008 @ 10:52 am

  6. Lots of water this year. Good omen. Beautiful shots, too. I’d like to practice with some waterfalls, but don’t have any near. And I’d sure need a LONG overnight to go to 6900 feet. My lungs would be in for an abrupt surprise.


    Comment by Bo — May 3, 2008 @ 11:53 am

  7. Nouveaufauves,

    It is indeed a scenic canyon. The trees in the canyon bottom (which isn’t very wide) are all cedar which adds a great smell to the place. The trail head is only about 6 miles from my house so I can visit often too.


    Comment by montucky — May 3, 2008 @ 12:08 pm

  8. Bo,

    Yes, I think I’ll make it a point to visit that exact area later to practice and make sure I take a tripod. It will have to be a sunny day so a few rays will make it to the creek bottom.

    It’s interesting just how much difference that high altitude really does make. I can tell a big difference If I exert much up there. Last summer I hiked to the top and back (on a different trail) in one day. It was a total of 12 miles and took me 10 hours. I slept well that night!


    Comment by montucky — May 3, 2008 @ 12:15 pm

  9. Those are some great shots. The colors of the crystal clear water and green moss around it are amazing. It looks like a great hike.


    Comment by scienceguy288 — May 3, 2008 @ 2:10 pm

  10. Yes, it’s great to see a stream and water in a pure, undamaged state. I wish more folks could get to see it in person: there’s quite a feel to being there.


    Comment by montucky — May 3, 2008 @ 2:58 pm

  11. Gorgeous fall shots Montucky! This so reminds me of the headwaters of Nancy Creek (tho I think the canopy is just a tad bit thicker) but mossy, gorgeous, captivating and the water runs so fast and clean it’s unmistakeably a hotspot for local animals. You did a gorgeous job capturing the wild and demanding nature of the falls. beautiful!


    Comment by aullori — May 4, 2008 @ 11:46 am

  12. Thanks, Lori! I’d love to see Nancy Creek! These small streams are magnetic, aren’t they?


    Comment by montucky — May 4, 2008 @ 8:06 pm

  13. I’m not sure why, but when I hike a long creeks like this, I want to take dozens of pictures. It’s as though I’m trying to capture with photographs the feelings I have about the water rushing across old stones, old moss and old deadfalls. The photographs never quite define a place for ne, but they bring back the memories of what I felt when i was there. I would have taken a lot of pix of spring creek as well.



    Comment by knightofswords — May 5, 2008 @ 2:36 pm

  14. Ooh pretty! I misread at first and thought you said the trail goes from 900′ to 3,400′ in 2 miles and was thinking to myself “damn, that’s REALLY steep!”

    Lovely water photos – it looks very refreshing!


    Comment by Adam R. Paul — May 5, 2008 @ 3:01 pm

  15. Malcolm,

    I feel the same way. Photographs go only so far: our memories must do the rest. I really started bring back photographs for my wife who just isn’t able to go into the places I do. I know you’d love Spring Creek!


    Comment by montucky — May 5, 2008 @ 4:45 pm

  16. Adam,

    If the snowpack ever melts I plan to hike a trail that’s only 3 miles long and starts at 7,000 feet and ends up at 2,500. Fortunately, I can start at the top and hike down one way. That’s one where you lace your boots up really tight!


    Comment by montucky — May 5, 2008 @ 4:47 pm

  17. Okay! I like these photos too, especially the fourth one. I see a “splash” caught in mid-air. Beautiful!


    Comment by Janet Wilkins — May 7, 2008 @ 1:56 pm

  18. The fourth one is my favorite too. I was back there again yesterday and the snow has started melting so fast now that the creek has doubled in volume and I couldn’t recognize that particular spot.


    Comment by montucky — May 7, 2008 @ 6:49 pm

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