Montana Outdoors

July 17, 2010

Cabin Lake (1)

There is a place in western Montana’s Cabinet Mountains called the Cube Iron – Silcox roadless area which consists of 36,997 acres or nearly 60 square miles of beautiful back country that is not accessible by motor vehicles. It contains many very scenic peaks and a large number of beautiful small lakes, all accessible by Forest Service trails. A week ago a friend and I hiked on trail 459 to visit one of the most easily accessible lakes, Cabin Lake. As a result, I know I will spend a lot more time on other trails in the Cube Iron – Silcox!

This trip (and one that we made two days later to Mount Headley) were so beautiful that I wish everyone could make those trips and see that part of the country for themselves. That thought made me decide to post a half dozen or so photos from the trip to Cabin Lake each day for awhile, the total of which should convey something of what the trip was like and I will post them in chronological order to show how the scenes along the trail unfold, from the trail head at about 4,600 feet to the lake at just over 5,900 feet and include some on the return, adding a minimum of narrative where it may be useful. If there is interest, I will do the same with the trail to Mt Headley.

As always, it is my hope that when folks see the natural beauty contained in our roadless areas, they will want to help preserve and protect them as much as it is in their power to do so.

Cabin Lake trail scene

Cabin Lake trail scene

Cabin Lake trail scene

Cabin Lake trail scene

Cabin Lake trail scene

Cabin Lake trail scene


  1. I agree that is beautiful place, and it didn’t hurt that the weather was fabulous. Western mountains are definitely more rugged that our old eastern ones.

    What is that white plant in the last shot? Is it a flower?

    About the bee shot on FWH, I find bees sleeping in the garden all the time. That day, there were eleven, just on the corn. Last week, I photographed an aurora damsel covered in dew and it never did wake up while I was at it.


    Comment by sandy — July 18, 2010 @ 5:14 am

    • It’s so interesting that you catch them asleep. Somehow I’ve never noticed that before!

      The white blossoms are Bear Grass. It’s a very large plant with the leaves forming mounds nearly a foot high and the blossoms sit atop stalks that reach over five feet. They have a blooming cycle of about five years and since last year was a big one, there are few blooming this year. Here is a post from last year that shows them at their peak bloom.


      Comment by montucky — July 18, 2010 @ 8:31 am

  2. I cannot imagine not protecting these areas…nice job on the sky in number #1.


    Comment by burstmode — July 18, 2010 @ 6:45 am

    • Sadly, these areas are under constant attack by the extraction industries for minerals and timber and now perhaps even more by the thrill machine enthusiasts who want ATV trails everywhere.

      The skies in these more remote and high areas are very pure and at times appear incredibly blue.


      Comment by montucky — July 18, 2010 @ 8:35 am

  3. What a stunningly beautiful place. I’m curious what the flower in the last picture is. It is a very unique looking plant.


    Comment by kateri — July 18, 2010 @ 8:30 am

    • That’s Bear Grass, which grows only in our far western states. The blossoms sit on stalks that reach five or six feet tall. The leaves grow in mounds nearly a foot tall and in many areas of the forests at higher elevations cover much of the ground. Here is a post from last year that has a bunch of photos and more description.


      Comment by montucky — July 18, 2010 @ 8:40 am

  4. Ah, I see why you like it. Let’s see how long it takes you to hike every trail.



    Comment by knightofswords — July 18, 2010 @ 12:05 pm

    • It will take awhile. It would be nice to have some more help…


      Comment by montucky — July 18, 2010 @ 9:14 pm

  5. Absolutely magical, Terry. The photos are exquisite, I can feel the cool air. I remember the bear grass from last year when you posted shots of it. I would love to see that in person, it seems as from a fantasy. How fun that you have all this new territory to explore.


    Comment by Candace — July 18, 2010 @ 12:48 pm

    • There are plenty more trails. I have home projects, but I’ve decided to try to get in at least two trips a week now and chip away at some of the places that I haven’t seen.


      Comment by montucky — July 18, 2010 @ 9:16 pm

  6. Splendid photographs of that lovely wilderness. Glad you shared! I enjoyed seeing those pictures today. By the way, a few days ago someone gave me a old used fly rod & reel. : )


    Comment by wildlifewatcher — July 18, 2010 @ 4:19 pm

    • I will keep posting photos of this trip and the trip to Mt Headley.

      That rod and reel is a great gift! My old fly rod is a prized possession. I hope you enjoy using that and have good luck!


      Comment by montucky — July 18, 2010 @ 9:18 pm

  7. these are beautiful pictures. I just learned from a friend about a “trail” that her son and father went to work on. she says it goes from Mexico and working to extend to Canada. It is a roadless trail for hiking and horses. her family has helped for a few years to maintain it. I forgot what it’s called and it’s not fully ready yet, but this post reminded me of it.


    Comment by silken — July 19, 2010 @ 7:01 am

    • That’s the Continental Divide Trail. There will be 980 miles of it in Montana and Idaho but only 450 are finished. Building a trail like that is quite a task! It will be nearly 200 miles from where I live though.


      Comment by montucky — July 19, 2010 @ 7:36 pm

  8. Beautiful, beautiful Nature in its deep splendor. I could hike there and then just meditate with Nature for hours.


    Comment by Anna — July 19, 2010 @ 7:19 am

    • I do, often. Today I hiked to another peak and spent six hours on the trail. Gives you time to think.


      Comment by montucky — July 19, 2010 @ 7:38 pm

  9. So so so love mountains! Beautiful!


    Comment by Bo Mackison — July 19, 2010 @ 12:50 pm

  10. oh yeah! duh! should not forget a name like that! she is very happy that her family has gotten to help over the last couple of years. it is an amazing task all right!


    Comment by silken — July 19, 2010 @ 8:15 pm

    • Maybe I will get a chance to see some of that trail. There may be some slight problems because some of the trail goes through grizzly country, but I hope not.


      Comment by montucky — July 19, 2010 @ 8:26 pm

  11. I just bought a nice little place in Snider. I camped at Cabin lake with the Boy Scouts when I was a kid. I am taking my family to Snider in the late spring and I want to take them up to Cabin Lake. My Grandmother lives in T-Falls and when I showed her your pictures, she said she knew you. A few days later she said she spoke with you at the Post Office. Small world.


    Comment by Anonymous — February 23, 2013 @ 7:38 pm

    • From your place in Snyder you will be close to some of the best trails around! I will be spending a lot of time in that general area in the summer. One trip will be from Vermilion pass along the whole length of Sundance ridge to Priscilla peak and then on down to Thompson River. Another will be from Mt. Headly on down trail 450 past Cabin Lake , Cube Iron and Silcox and some out at Webber near T-Falls. Beautiful country, all of it!


      Comment by montucky — February 23, 2013 @ 10:52 pm

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