Montana Outdoors

September 18, 2014

Terrace Lake (2)

     Terrace Lake sits about due north of one of my favorite places, Mount Headley in the Cube Iron – Silcox Roadless Area, but it is not approachable from that direction, instead, the trail head to the lake is at the end of the West Fork of Fishtrap Creek road: well, not at the very end, but believe me you don’t want to drive on that road any further. At the present time, the trail does not show on any map and the trail sign is missing. Other than that, it’s a cinch to find.
The trail itself was renovated about four years ago and it is the very best trail that I have ever seen. Those who worked on it really knew what they were doing! It winds and climbs about a thousand feet through beautiful forest for about 2 miles to the lake which, …well, I’ll let the photos say the rest.

     About half of the following photos are of the trail itself and the balance are of the lake.

Terrace Lake trail, Cube Iron - Silcox Roadless Area, western Montana

Terrace Lake trail, Cube Iron - Silcox Roadless Area, western Montana

Terrace Lake trail, Cube Iron - Silcox Roadless Area, western Montana

Terrace Lake trail, Cube Iron - Silcox Roadless Area, western Montana

Terrace Lake trail, Cube Iron - Silcox Roadless Area, western Montana

Terrace Lake trail, Cube Iron - Silcox Roadless Area, western Montana

Terrace Lake trail, Cube Iron - Silcox Roadless Area, western Montana

Terrace Lake trail, Cube Iron - Silcox Roadless Area, western Montana

Terrace Lake trail, Cube Iron - Silcox Roadless Area, western Montana

Terrace Lake trail, Cube Iron - Silcox Roadless Area, western Montana

Terrace Lake trail, Cube Iron - Silcox Roadless Area, western Montana

Terrace Lake trail, Cube Iron - Silcox Roadless Area, western Montana

Terrace Lake trail, Cube Iron - Silcox Roadless Area, western Montana

Terrace Lake trail, Cube Iron - Silcox Roadless Area, western Montana

Terrace Lake trail, Cube Iron - Silcox Roadless Area, western Montana

Terrace Lake, Cube Iron - Silcox Roadless Area, western Montana

Terrace Lake, Cube Iron - Silcox Roadless Area, western Montana

Terrace Lake, Cube Iron - Silcox Roadless Area, western Montana

Terrace Lake, Cube Iron - Silcox Roadless Area, western Montana

Terrace Lake, Cube Iron - Silcox Roadless Area, western Montana

Terrace Lake, Cube Iron - Silcox Roadless Area, western Montana

Terrace Lake, Cube Iron - Silcox Roadless Area, western Montana

Terrace Lake, Cube Iron - Silcox Roadless Area, western Montana

Terrace Lake, Cube Iron - Silcox Roadless Area, western Montana

Terrace Lake, Cube Iron - Silcox Roadless Area, western Montana

Terrace Lake, Cube Iron - Silcox Roadless Area, western Montana

Terrace Lake, Cube Iron - Silcox Roadless Area, western Montana

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52 Comments »

  1. That trail looks quite walkable. And what a prize at the end of the walk. Beautiful! I bet your lungs got oxygenated on that walk. It looks (and I’m sure it is) really refreshing.

    Like

    Comment by wordsfromanneli — September 18, 2014 @ 10:47 pm

    • That was a very enjoyable trip. The hike is quite easy and very pretty every step of the way. I was surprised at how beautiful the lake is.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — September 18, 2014 @ 11:22 pm

  2. I’ve never heard of Terrace Lake, but that’s definitely going on my to-hike list!

    Like

    Comment by aarontheisen — September 18, 2014 @ 10:52 pm

    • It’s a very easy hike, but it was an extremely pleasant trip.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — September 18, 2014 @ 11:25 pm

  3. I stayed around Fishtrap for 3 nights in early July. I have not visited Terrace lake since I was a kid. Thanks for the wonderful pictures.

    Like

    Comment by David — September 19, 2014 @ 12:18 am

    • I had heard of it, but this was the first time I visited there. Looked llike the fishing was still very good, and the fish were larger than in most of the high lakes.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — September 19, 2014 @ 7:45 am

  4. How very beautiful! I could gaze at that lake for hours. Everything, even the trees, seems to be on such a majestic scale.

    Like

    Comment by Jo Woolf — September 19, 2014 @ 2:25 am

    • I’m glad that you said that. I have started to post more photos in an attempt to show the size and scale of these places. It’s very difficult to get size perspective in photos.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — September 19, 2014 @ 7:49 am

      • I find the same myself! I’ve noticed it’s particularly difficult with waterfalls, for some reason.

        Like

        Comment by Jo Woolf — September 19, 2014 @ 8:11 am

        • Yes, the same problem. Some photographers include a person in the scene to give perspective, but I don’t usually include people in my photos and most often there isn’t anyone around anyway.

          Like

          Comment by montucky — September 19, 2014 @ 8:16 am

  5. It’s amazing that such a beautiful place would be on a trail that is virtually unmarked. I love spots where you can sit all day and not see another soul, and that looks like one of those. It also looks like it would be a great place to see eagles fishing.

    Like

    Comment by New Hampshire Garden Solutions — September 19, 2014 @ 4:45 am

    • From what I understand, that lake has long been popular with fishermen from the (more or less) local area and they used an unofficial trail, which would not be included in the National Forest maps or the USGS maps. About 4 years ago the trail was renovated and I’m pretty sure that it will appear on the new Lolo National Forest map that should be published this month. There seemed to be an abundance of fish in the lake, and I would not be surprised to see eagles and osprey fishing there.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — September 19, 2014 @ 7:53 am

  6. Definitely makes me want to put on the hiking boots!

    Like

    Comment by centralohionature — September 19, 2014 @ 4:51 am

    • This place would get anyone’s hiking urge going. Sometimes a trail goes through such thick forest and heavy brush that it doesn’t get scenic until near the end. This one is beautiful all of the way.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — September 19, 2014 @ 7:55 am

  7. Nice pictures from this beautiful trail.

    Like

    Comment by bentehaarstad — September 19, 2014 @ 6:04 am

    • Thanks Bente. There is a lot of very pretty scenery there.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — September 19, 2014 @ 7:57 am

  8. What a wonderful trail!! And those incredible views…

    Like

    Comment by FeyGirl — September 19, 2014 @ 6:40 am

    • It’s one of the prettier lakes in the region. I was very pleasantly surprised.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — September 19, 2014 @ 7:58 am

  9. You found beauty even without a trail marker or map…clever guy! Thanks for taking us to such a refreshing place. hike on! hugs

    Like

    Comment by Beth — September 19, 2014 @ 6:51 am

    • Well, the lake is on the maps, but until now the trail wasn’t. Those who live closer to it knew it quite well I’ve heard. I still consider it a great find though.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — September 19, 2014 @ 8:00 am

  10. I’ll bet you’re not going to contact anyone to get that trail sign up, or make sure it’s added to the map. It’s like a secret fishing spot — available to anyone, but why put a note on the bulletin board at the bait camp? The trail is beautiful, and of course the lake. I’ve found since last being here that copper leaching into lakes can result in green water. Perhaps that’s part of the answer. What’s the peak 8 photos down? That’s my favorite of the whole series. You did a great job of re-creating the surprise of seeing it after being surrounded by forest on the trail.

    Like

    Comment by shoreacres — September 19, 2014 @ 7:37 am

    • I would guess that the trail, now that it is official and maintained, will be on the new edition of the maps. At the trail head there was a post hole indication that there was once a sign there. The local Ranger Station informed me that There is probably (?!) a new sign being made. I still don’t know how much traffic there will be to it. There is about 30 miles of back country road to get to the trail head and the last part of that is closed until mid-June “to reduce soil erosion and to protect grizzly bears”.

      I’m not entirely sure, but I think the peak that peeks through the trees is Marmot Peak, a tall peak in the middle of Sundance Ridge, a couple of miles southeast of the lake. As a matter of fact, later this summer (hopefully) I will go back and use that road to try and find an old abandoned trail to access Marmot Peak. I’ve always wanted to do that. It will be a very difficult hike.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — September 19, 2014 @ 8:13 am

      • My gosh! That peak does look like a marmot. I didn’t know what a marmot looked like,actually. It’s amazingly like my dear, departed pet prairie dog.

        Like

        Comment by shoreacres — September 19, 2014 @ 8:16 am

        • I’ve been to within a mile of Marmot Peak from the Mount Headley side, but it’s a 4 mile hike to Headley and between it and Marmot the trail drops about a thousand feet and ascends again up to Marmot. I’m hoping thee is an easier way.

          Like

          Comment by montucky — September 19, 2014 @ 8:21 am

  11. Hi Montucky, Wow! What beautiful country. Thanks for the virtual hike. I so enjoyed the views. That lake is so lovely – I bet there may be trout in it. Have a great day and enjoy the weekend.

    Like

    Comment by wildlifewatcher — September 19, 2014 @ 9:27 am

    • Thanks wildlifewatcher! I hope that you have a great weekend too! I’m glad that you enjoyed the views of the lake!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — September 19, 2014 @ 8:34 pm

  12. I, too, appreciate the arrangement of these photos in chronological order and the “surprise” of discovering the butte and the breathtakingly beautiful lake along the way. Scale is something that I also struggle with in my desert photography, as I do not yet have a wide angle lens. With what lens did you shoot these?

    Like

    Comment by Where God Takes Me — September 19, 2014 @ 10:28 am

    • I’m pleased that you liked the order of the photos. I hoped to show as much as I could what the hike was like. Sometimes I take a small P & S camera instead of my DSLR to save on weight, and these photos were taken with it and its adjustable zoom. Usually I use an 18mm – 135mm lens on the DSLR and take most scenery photos toward the 18mm end of the range.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — September 19, 2014 @ 8:42 pm

  13. Just ……beautiful, Terry.
    Thanks for sharing this lovely hike and scenery. Makes me feel as though I’m in the mountains and breathing the fresh air too.

    Like

    Comment by Vicki — September 19, 2014 @ 5:52 pm

    • Thanks Vicki. I sure wish you could go on a trip like that. You would get some fantastic photos and enjoy the smell and feel of the mountains too!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — September 19, 2014 @ 8:43 pm

      • Yes, I sure wish I could go on mountain hikes too, Terry Or even up the country for a long walk. My best friends, who I rarely see now, are spending their retirement travelling and hiking through many of the countries they’ve always wanted to visit. They also belong to a bushwalking club and are aiming to do a big cycling trip in October.

        They’re fit, well-off financially and have travelled and worked overseas most of their lives (even with their 3 children who are now grown up of course).

        Good health is essential to make the best of retirement, but exploring the local neighbourhood will have to ‘do’ for me. If I had a car and could afford the petrol (which is expensive in Aust.) of course I could go back to country trips which I used to do many years ago before health got in the way.

        Like

        Comment by Vicki — September 20, 2014 @ 5:15 pm

        • I know what you mean. I have been fortunate to have good health, but my wife has health problems that don’t let her go with me on my outings. Gas prices have limited my excursions too. I really haven’t been able to go as far or as often as I would like. We can only do the best we can though, and there is beauty to be found in many seemingly unlikely places. I have always enjoyed the photos that you have posted!

          Like

          Comment by montucky — September 21, 2014 @ 10:15 pm

  14. Wow. Does that ever look fun … that trail is so inviting and the colors outstanding … just gorgeous …

    Like

    Comment by Teresa Evangeline — September 19, 2014 @ 6:52 pm

    • Teresa, once you start traveling through country like that you can never stop doing it: Nature keeps inviting you back. This is a beautiful time of the year for the forests and all that they contain.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — September 19, 2014 @ 8:58 pm

  15. Those first few photos of the trees have a painterly quality. What a great hike. Are there ever waterbirds at lakes like these?

    Like

    Comment by Candace — September 19, 2014 @ 9:08 pm

    • Come to think of it, I never see water birds at the higher elevation lakes. I know of one at a low elevation though that is the home of a great many ducks.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — September 19, 2014 @ 9:28 pm

  16. Is there a landmark or something other than the post hole you mentioned to indicate the trail head so a person doesn’t drive past the trail head to the end of the road?

    Since you mentioned the road is closed until mid-June “to reduce soil erosion and to protect grizzly bears”, did you see any signs of bear on your hike?

    Like

    Comment by Tall Pines — September 19, 2014 @ 10:51 pm

    • The trail head is right where the road makes a hairpin turn to the left. There is a fairly nice place to park there. A few hundred feet further on the road and it turns into something you really don’t want to drive on. We saw no sign of bears at all, no tracks, no scat.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — September 20, 2014 @ 7:59 am

      • Thanks for the info. Beautiful photos by the way.

        Like

        Comment by Tall Pines — September 20, 2014 @ 4:34 pm

  17. Heaven does INDEED exist on earth and your photos are proof! Thank you for these beyond-inspiring pictures!

    Like

    Comment by Christine Hendler — September 20, 2014 @ 7:40 am

    • I agree. The beauty of the natural world is beyond compare. I’m glad that you liked the scenes!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — September 20, 2014 @ 8:04 am

  18. Fantastic photos from your beautiful part of the US … I enjoyed every minute … As I often say to you … I´m very happy that I found your blog …

    I visited the mountains where I live this week … Spectacular colors up there now … Haven´t done a post yet … But I will … If you have Instagram you can see some of my photos from that hike there … // Maria 🙂

    Like

    Comment by mariayarri — September 21, 2014 @ 6:45 am

    • Thanks Maria. I don’t have instagram, but I will look forward to seeing the photos that you post here.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — September 21, 2014 @ 10:17 pm

  19. Breath-taking…and heartbreakingly beautiful, Terry. How wonderful that you’re able to be out there in the middle of it all…and probably alone, too!!

    Like

    Comment by seekraz — September 24, 2014 @ 9:00 pm

    • On this trip I had a great hiking companion, but we were the only ones there, just the way I like it!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — September 24, 2014 @ 10:02 pm

  20. Excellent photographing because I felt that I am walking the trail also. Stunning landscapes.

    Like

    Comment by Sartenada — September 25, 2014 @ 5:05 am

    • I’m glad that the photos gave you that feeling! I was hoping for that!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — September 25, 2014 @ 9:13 pm

  21. Hey Montucky, I love following your hikes in northwest montana. I live in north idaho and have pretty much hiked all there is to hike over here. We recently hiked into evans lake and loved it. My question is this; we are still shopping for a new off road vehicle and are stuck using a chevy equinox for now. Is the 30 mile of backcountry roads you mention doable or should I wait until I have something with more ground clearance?

    Like

    Comment by David — October 10, 2015 @ 12:08 pm

    • Hi David,

      The roads to the Terrace Lake trail head are rocky and dusty and bumpy, but don’t require especially high clearance. Tough on tires though. I’d think you vehicle would be just fine. You will enjoy the lake!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — October 10, 2015 @ 12:19 pm

      • Thanks, hoping to get up there before the snow does!

        Like

        Comment by David — October 11, 2015 @ 10:54 pm


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