Montana Outdoors

August 28, 2010

Cube Iron (6)

The top part of the trail. These photos were from the last hundred or so yards to the top of the peak. The next to last photo is of the location where the lookout once stood, which is now a site for a helipad (the orange markings). Just a few of the concrete support anchors now remain from the old tower.

Scene from Cube Iron Mountain trailLooking back down the trail

Scene from Cube Iron Mountain trail

Scene from Cube Iron Mountain trailToward the Clark Fork Valley

Scene from Cube Iron Mountain trail

Scene from Cube Iron Mountain trailA first look at the Four Lakes Basin

HarebellsHarebells on the trail

Top of Cube Iron Mountain Site of the lookout tower built in 1935

Scene from Cube Iron Mountain trailThe first peek over the top


  1. Oh what views!!! Spectacular views!!!


    Comment by Tricia — August 29, 2010 @ 3:49 am

    • That whole region is pretty. I can’t believe I waited so long to visit there.


      Comment by montucky — August 29, 2010 @ 7:25 am

  2. Wonderful view from the top. Is the helipad for fire fighting?

    We are supposed to have harebells here in Maine, but I have never seen them.


    Comment by sandy — August 29, 2010 @ 3:03 pm

    • They could put a team of fire fighters down on that pad if conditions were right. Or rescue them if things went sour. It provides good access for any number of reasons. North of there a dozen miles or so the Forest Service set down several trail crews on the helipad on a peak and they cleared trails on their way down.

      Harebells had a good year here. They have stopped blooming now at the lower elevations, but there are still quite a few up higher. They will bloom until the snow comes.


      Comment by montucky — August 29, 2010 @ 7:49 pm

  3. Unreal views! It’s so fun to go along the trail with you…although I’m cheating right now and reading the end of the book first.


    Comment by Candace — August 29, 2010 @ 5:34 pm

    • Well, I still have a couple more sets to post from this trip, then on to Mount Silcox.


      Comment by montucky — August 29, 2010 @ 7:52 pm

  4. Wow! All of these views are stupendous. I love the last photo with those gorgeous rocks (I like rocks). Really, this is such beyond gorgeous countryside.


    Comment by Anna — August 30, 2010 @ 6:57 am

    • I love the views from the back country and these peaks give me the opportunity to illustrate my feeling that mountains are best viewed from the top down. It’s worth the effort of getting up there.


      Comment by montucky — August 30, 2010 @ 8:49 am

  5. Those clouds look so close you could almost reach out and touch them! Glorious, glorious photos.


    Comment by Robin — August 30, 2010 @ 9:26 am

    • The clouds do pass low over the peaks, giving a new perspective of them. Another bonus of the high country.


      Comment by montucky — August 30, 2010 @ 8:56 pm

  6. What wonderful views. Too bad the old tower isn’t there any more.



    Comment by knightofswords — August 30, 2010 @ 7:45 pm

    • Yes. What a shame that nearly all of the old towers were destroyed for liability concerns. That got out of control and suddenly most of them were destroyed and we lost our chance to see a lot of the history of our National Forests. The few that are left are treasures and personally I don’t feel that they are being cared for the way they should be.


      Comment by montucky — August 30, 2010 @ 8:59 pm

  7. That first shot sent a shiver up my spine. Absolutely gorgeous. How much in the way of elevation change did you hike and over what distance?


    Comment by scienceguy288 — August 30, 2010 @ 8:13 pm

    • From the trail head to the Cube Iron Peak is about three miles, and the vertical climb is 2,400 feet, from 4,770 at the trail head to 7,170 at the peak.


      Comment by montucky — August 30, 2010 @ 9:02 pm

  8. Another beautiful set of photos. I love the harebells. I’m pretty sure they are the same bellflowers that I have seen in barren stoney areas.


    Comment by kateri — August 30, 2010 @ 9:14 pm

    • Thanks kateri! The Harebells here like the mountains, but do prefer drier open areas. I especially like them because of their long blooming season. They start rather late in the spring, but last until the snows come.


      Comment by montucky — August 30, 2010 @ 9:32 pm

  9. What a place for a look out! Wow!


    Comment by Bo Mackison — August 31, 2010 @ 7:22 pm

    • The lookout on Cube Iron was built in 1935 and destroyed in 1959. It was one of 639 lookouts that were built in Montana after the huge fires that burned through here in 1910. I have a feeling this was a lonely place back then.


      Comment by montucky — August 31, 2010 @ 7:31 pm

  10. I would like to walk on the ridge of first photo. All the photos are great.

    So lookout towers are there also general. Nowadays we have only few, I think. Today small air planes with voluntary crew survey fires and of course pilots of line flights.


    Comment by sartenada — September 2, 2010 @ 10:49 pm

    • We have very few lookouts remaining here too, and we also use air surveillance instead. One of the ones that remain here is not too far from my house and I have visited the man stationed there a couple of times. They were interesting visits.


      Comment by montucky — September 3, 2010 @ 9:13 pm

  11. Your comment about possibly never being back to the same spot is poignant. But with the amazing scenery that was captured in your photographs it is a moment in time that we all can enjoy and share as a result of your intrepid nature and your eye for nature.


    Comment by Ron Mangels — December 31, 2011 @ 4:18 pm

    • I’m glad that you and others enjoy seeing the scenes from such places. When I visit places like this I always look forward to the next time I might visit there, but life can be fragile at times and hold many surprises. I’m thankful that the state of photography now makes it possible to bring back these scenes, although I still wish that more folks could have the will and opportunity to visit them in person.


      Comment by montucky — January 1, 2012 @ 12:07 am

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