Montana Outdoors

June 11, 2013

Spring Creek cascades

In the southern end of the Cabinet Mountains a small creek climbs from its confluence with a larger one, about seven miles to its source in a cold spring just below the top of Big Hole Peak. Throughout that course the water falls nearly a mile in a never ending stream of small cascades and waterfalls, some of which can be accessed from the trail that runs along it through Spring Creek Canyon. Here are just a few.

Spring Creek

Spring Creek

Spring Creek

Spring Creek

Spring Creek

Spring Creek


  1. I like everything about these fast-flowing creeks. You can hear them from far away. The spray feels nice on a cold day. And there’s usually a lot of nice vegetation snugged up to the water.

    Comment by Malcolm R. Campbell — June 11, 2013 @ 8:20 pm

    • This one is a sanctuary for me on hot days: it’s always cool in the canyon. The first half mike of this trail is completely silent because the water flows underground there. Then the sound starts and it makes music all of the rest of the way up.

      Comment by montucky — June 11, 2013 @ 9:08 pm

  2. I love waterfalls but don’t get to see many. Beautiful!

    Comment by bayphotosbydonna — June 11, 2013 @ 8:25 pm

    • All of the creeks here that come down from the higher areas have waterfalls and cascades. On some parts of them though the brush is so thick it is difficult to get to the water or get a good photo chance.

      Comment by montucky — June 11, 2013 @ 9:10 pm

  3. What a gorgeous post. I love these photos! The light in the vertical one is particularly appealing to me. Wow.

    Comment by Teresa Evangeline — June 11, 2013 @ 8:26 pm

    • The light was very challenging today. The shade in that canyon is deep and where a little sun makes it way through the contrasts are huge. Many of the flower photos today required the help of flash.

      Comment by montucky — June 11, 2013 @ 9:12 pm

  4. Wow…beautiful…

    Comment by Roberta — June 11, 2013 @ 8:52 pm

  5. I could almost hear that water rushing!

    Comment by wordsfromanneli — June 11, 2013 @ 8:59 pm

    • It’s a nice sound! A few weeks ago when the stream was high with snowmelt, it would have been nearly deafening.

      Comment by montucky — June 11, 2013 @ 9:14 pm

  6. they’re all beautiful captures, but i’m lovin the shadow play in the 2nd pic =)))

    Comment by Tricia — June 11, 2013 @ 9:24 pm

    • Thanks Tricia. I like the shadowy places too. There are so many pretty places on that stream it would take weeks to shoot them all. Most are not easy to get to, at least to where you can get a good shot.

      Comment by montucky — June 11, 2013 @ 9:37 pm

  7. Your photo gallery is absolutely exquisite. I so miss being in the mountains right now.

    Comment by Charlie@Seattle Trekker — June 11, 2013 @ 9:34 pm

    • Thank you Charlie. I know what it is like to be away from them. I was away from here for a long time and I missed them terribly.

      Comment by montucky — June 11, 2013 @ 9:43 pm

  8. How very beautiful! I love the coolness and the serenity of places like this.

    Comment by Jo Woolf — June 12, 2013 @ 12:03 am

    • It’s remarkably cool there on those hot summer days, and the water is always ice cold.

      Comment by montucky — June 12, 2013 @ 7:09 am

  9. That´s a stunning photo serie ! Your 5;th photo is my absolutely favorite, it´s so vivid . // Maria

    Comment by mariayarri — June 12, 2013 @ 1:41 am

    • Thanks Maria. There are many more waterfalls in the length of that canyon, not all of the accessible.

      Comment by montucky — June 12, 2013 @ 7:12 am

  10. Lovely series of waterfall, Montucky.

    Comment by bentehaarstad — June 12, 2013 @ 3:21 am

  11. I was surprised, when i went looking for waterfalls, how hard they were to find. Then, once you find them, how hard they are to get to. It’s always worth the effort though-these are beautiful.

    Comment by New Hampshire Gardener — June 12, 2013 @ 4:13 am

    • Perhaps on one of those very hot summer days I will return there just to take photos. Yesterday I was exploring the trail for a hike I want to take possibly next week, where I will hike up a similar trail for 7 miles and spend a night on a peak. Then, come back down this one. Looks like the trail will be OK but I’ll have to be prepared for wading at the stream crossings.

      Comment by montucky — June 12, 2013 @ 7:15 am

  12. Stunning light and great capture of the flow :-).

    Comment by winsomebella — June 12, 2013 @ 5:50 am

    • The contrasts of light are very difficult there. It would be better on cloudy days, I think, or in winter when the sun is low in the south and doesn’t reach the canyon bottom.

      Comment by montucky — June 12, 2013 @ 7:17 am

  13. Beautiful natural place. I love listening and watching flowing water … especially waterfalls. The small gentle ones are actually some of the most interesting.

    Comment by bearyweather — June 12, 2013 @ 7:40 am

    • This is a great place. There is about 6 miles of this. Fresh bear scat in the lower end, wolf scat about 3 miles up, seldom visited by humans.

      Comment by montucky — June 12, 2013 @ 7:47 am

  14. What a wonderful creek ! Beautiful photos !

    Comment by Inspired and pretty — June 12, 2013 @ 8:03 am

    • It’s a place that I visit often. It’s always pretty and there are all kinds of wildflowers at various places along the trail.

      Comment by montucky — June 12, 2013 @ 8:44 am

  15. Super photos Montucky. It must be a cool and refreshing place to visit in the summer!

    Comment by dhphotosite — June 12, 2013 @ 8:17 am

    • Always cool in the summer, absolutely frigid in winter. It’s very close for me and the way it is configured, very seldom visited by people. There is a mile uphill hike just to get to the stream, and the trail upstream is very steep and rocky for six miles. The trail tops out at 5,500 feet and from there is another trail to Big Hole peak at about 7,000. Enough rough country to keep most people out.

      Comment by montucky — June 12, 2013 @ 8:47 am

  16. Now that’s what I call refreshing! Looking at these I can almost feel the coolness in the air and the mist from the water. Just simply beautiful.

    Comment by Mama's Empty Nest — June 12, 2013 @ 2:05 pm

    • After about a mile the trail reaches the stream and when you enter the canyon you can feel the temperature drop. I shall have to measure that some day, but I’ll bet its about a 20 degree change. In summer, very refreshing; in winter very cold.

      Comment by montucky — June 12, 2013 @ 10:10 pm

  17. I can’t remember the last time I saw a waterfall…I like the way you shot the water at a slow speed and it made the light really nice, too. I like the shadows.

    Comment by Candace — June 12, 2013 @ 8:27 pm

    • The contrasts of sun and shade there is really hard to work with. Most of these were shot at 1 sec. Takes a lot of experimenting. It would be an interesting place to experiment with your new camera because it can handle the high ISO’s.

      Comment by montucky — June 12, 2013 @ 10:22 pm

      • Haha, yeah, it supposedly can…but I don’t know if I can.

        Comment by Candace — June 13, 2013 @ 6:51 pm

  18. Hi Montucky, As I write this at 11:20 PM, it is 87 degrees outside – hot, hot, hot! Your photo of the refreshingly cool cascades is highly appreciated. Cool and beautiful. Have a wonderful Thursday tomorrow!

    Comment by wildlifewatcher — June 12, 2013 @ 9:21 pm

    • It’s 60 here right now. I wish you had a place like this in which to retreat when it gets really hot! I’m glad the photos help!

      Comment by montucky — June 12, 2013 @ 10:23 pm

  19. Oh, my. I think I’m going to bookmark this page for lunchtime meditations – we hit a 116 degree heat index in the afternoon a couple of days ago, and a little refreshment would have been nice. (Although the temperature was only 96 – it’s the humidity, don’t you know?)

    These are beautiful photos. Whatever the technical problems, you captured the “feel” of the place so well.

    Comment by shoreacres — June 13, 2013 @ 6:20 am

    • I hope the photos help! I remember those hot days from the time I spent in Arizona. I’m sure I could not take those now.
      The water in that stream is pure, drinkable and ice cold.

      Comment by montucky — June 13, 2013 @ 7:08 pm

  20. The way You present Your country, I find it is marvelous. Your photos are indeed great and they inspire man to study nature with keen eye.

    Comment by Sartenada — June 13, 2013 @ 11:29 pm

    • Thank you Matti! Most of my photos are taken in areas that have not been altered by development or “civilization”, so they show the real natural world around here.

      Comment by montucky — June 14, 2013 @ 10:32 pm

  21. ah this looks like my kind of place….no snow; just gorgeous!

    Comment by skouba — June 14, 2013 @ 7:48 am

    • I think you would have enjoyed the temperature there, in the 50’s, after some of the temperatures you have had recently. Very refreshing and relazing.

      Comment by montucky — June 14, 2013 @ 10:33 pm

  22. These are gorgeous photos. I love the way you have blurred the water. What specs on the camera did you use to get these effects, if you wouldn’t mind sharing those?

    Comment by Sue — June 18, 2013 @ 8:34 am

    • I’m happy to share the settings which varied quite a bit on these. Most were at f10 or f11 for 1 sec. or 1/2 sec. and I had a circular polarizer on the lens. I use what is probably a very strange method for creating settings in situations like these and it usually involves some experimentation. By the way, you can get the exact settings used on any of my photos by clicking on the photo: that will take you to that photo on my Flickr site. In the lower right corner of the photo then you will see three dots. Click on that and it will give you a menu and one of the items will be exif data on the photo which includes all of the settings. I hope this is helpful!

      Comment by montucky — June 18, 2013 @ 8:00 pm

  23. Beautiful, Terry….I love seeing that living water out there….

    Comment by seekraz — June 20, 2013 @ 7:06 am

    • I do too Scott. When I see that and the streams and lakes in your photos, I have a feeling that things will be alright.

      Comment by montucky — June 20, 2013 @ 7:45 pm

  24. Lovely pics!

    Comment by muddepaws — June 23, 2013 @ 9:54 pm

    • Thank you! It’s a beautiful and very wild little stream and canyon close to where I live.

      Comment by montucky — June 23, 2013 @ 11:24 pm

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