Montana Outdoors

April 17, 2015

A little of the Munson Creek trail (USFS Tr 372)

Today I hiked the first couple of miles of the Munson Creek trail (from about 2,400 ft elevation to about 3,400 ft elevation) to see how the winter treated it. It was in very good condition, with a sprinkling of wildflowers all along, but only of some of the early blooming species were blooming. It is a steep and rather rough trail that is well worth hiking later in the summer when the valley is hot and the trail is cool and when there are dozens of species of wildflowers in bloom (and I will return later to see them). Here are a few photos of the trail and the flower species now in bloom along that stretch.

Munson Creek trail

Munson Creek trail

Arrowleaf Balsamroot

Arrowleaf Balsamroot ~ Balsamorhiza sagittata

Munson Creek trail

Oblongleaf Bluebells, Sagebrush Bluebells

Oblongleaf Bluebells, Sagebrush Bluebells

Oblongleaf Bluebells, Sagebrush Bluebells ~ Mertensia oblongifolia

Hooker's Fairy Bells

Hooker’s Fairy Bells ~ Disporum hookeri

Blue Clematis

Blue Clematis ~ Clematis occidentalis

Munson Creek trail

Yellow Glacier Lily

Yellow Glacier Lily, Erythronium grandiflorum

Western White Trillium

Western White Trillium ~ Trillium Ovatum

Munson Creek trail

Munson Creek trail

Munson Creek trail



  1. All sorts of wonderful sights!


    Comment by Mother Hen — April 17, 2015 @ 8:42 pm

    • There always are. The roadless areas of our National Forests are world-class treasures.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — April 17, 2015 @ 9:08 pm

      • The trees look healthy.I know in California some were looking pretty bad, (bark beetle) I think they are healthier here in Oregon.


        Comment by Mother Hen — April 17, 2015 @ 9:34 pm

        • This particular area, especially in the stream canyons has not been too badly damaged by the pine beetles, probably because there is quite a diversity of trees, from pines to cedars to firs, spruce and hemlock.

          Liked by 1 person

          Comment by montucky — April 17, 2015 @ 9:43 pm

  2. That trail is so enticing … and the wildflowers make it perfect. Beautiful photos.


    Comment by Teresa Evangeline — April 17, 2015 @ 9:25 pm

    • I hike that trail often. The trail head is only about 10 miles from my house and the trail provides access to some wonderful remote back country. There is plenty of water and a large diversity of wildlife as well.


      Comment by montucky — April 17, 2015 @ 9:44 pm

  3. They look like beautiful trails to walk. Lots of shade to protect my super-fair skin and lovely flowers along the way. Beautiful! 🙂


    Comment by Jane — April 17, 2015 @ 9:30 pm

    • The lower several miles of the trail is under good forest canopy and nice and cool because of the ice cold stream flowing along most of it. The upper couple of miles is more open, but there is a beautiful peak at the top, By the time you reach to peak you have gained nearly a mile of altitude, and traveled through about 7 miles of wild country that holds a large diversity of wildlife, including Bighorn Sheep, deer, elk, Black Bear, wolf, cougar, bobcat and an occasional moose. And by mid summer, several dozen different species of wildflowers.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — April 17, 2015 @ 9:52 pm

  4. What a beautiful trail! And from your comments it seems a good place to practice your wildlife photography as well!


    Comment by de Wets Wild — April 17, 2015 @ 10:00 pm

    • There is a lot of wildlife in the area, but it is quite heavily forested and very steep and rough. I frequently see Big Horn sheep, but seldom get to see anything else. The large animals use the trail a lot at night.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — April 18, 2015 @ 8:32 pm

  5. How lovely to see the sunshine and first wild flowers. A beautiful trail!


    Comment by Jo Woolf — April 18, 2015 @ 1:15 am

    • Spring is beautiful now. Wish I could also pass on the smells of the firs, pines, and cedars!

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — April 18, 2015 @ 8:33 pm

  6. Beautiful trail! The colors and light are just amazing! I love the flower pictures. Very nicely done!


    Comment by Lucy — April 18, 2015 @ 3:04 am

    • Thanks Lucy. That’s some of the forests that I love most. SO much beauty and variety.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — April 18, 2015 @ 8:35 pm

  7. Wow, that little trail really hangs on to the side of that mountain. I can’t think of anyplace I’d rather be though, with flowers like those blooming all along it.
    Ours have just started.


    Comment by New Hampshire Garden Solutions — April 18, 2015 @ 6:28 am

    • You would love this trail and many others like it here. I have never been able to show the full perspective of the place. In most of the first two miles, the stream is several hundred feet below the trail and the mountain is very steep and covered with thick brush.


      Comment by montucky — April 18, 2015 @ 8:37 pm

  8. Beautiful flowers and it looks like a trial that beckons!


    Comment by centralohionature — April 18, 2015 @ 10:25 am

    • It’s a trail that does make you want to follow it. Later this summer when the snow up high is gone I will hike up there and spend a night, then go back down to the valley on another trail a few miles to the east of this one. I’m really looking forward to that! It’s all in a roadless area in the National Forest.


      Comment by montucky — April 18, 2015 @ 8:39 pm

  9. Hi Montucky, Oh, those Bluebells! How special and wonderful! Have a great Sunday tomorrow!


    Comment by wildlifewatcher — April 18, 2015 @ 5:05 pm

    • Bluebells always seem to look bright and fresh, and I they seem to be welcoming visitors to the forest.


      Comment by montucky — April 18, 2015 @ 8:40 pm

  10. Bear country, if I had to guess. It’s just like in my nightmares – a beautiful trail on a hillside and by the time I get to the end of the path, the bears will have come down the hills to cut me off. But very beautiful. I can’t blame a bear for wanting to live there.


    Comment by wordsfromanneli — April 18, 2015 @ 5:08 pm

    • Definitely bear country, but they are Black Bears: much friendlier than Grizzly. A few miles further up the trail from where I went this time, the trail meets another one and that junction seems to be loaded with bears. Plenty of water, lots of berries in the summer and enough of the solitude that they enjoy.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — April 18, 2015 @ 8:42 pm

      • Eeeeee! I’m terrified just thinking about it.


        Comment by wordsfromanneli — April 18, 2015 @ 9:19 pm

        • These are very wild bears and therefore, very shy bears as is their nature. Usually nothing to worry about, just have to be careful to watch for cubs or a sow acting like she might have a cub around, and give them plenty of space. Personally, I think the Black Bear is one of the few wild animals who possesses a great sense of humor and usually a complete lack of malice.


          Comment by montucky — April 18, 2015 @ 9:43 pm

  11. So easy to see how wonderful that trail would be in summer. It’s shady paths would be so welcoming.
    Nice to see some Spring blossom along the way.

    Seems like months since I’ve gone for a Nature Walk and your images are a welcome sight.


    Comment by Vicki — April 18, 2015 @ 6:12 pm

    • It has been a long time since it was possible for me to hike in places like that too. It will take all summer and fall for me to get my fill of it!


      Comment by montucky — April 18, 2015 @ 8:43 pm

  12. Haven’t visited in a while. Those photos are gorgeous! Makes me want to go for a hike!!!


    Comment by skouba — April 18, 2015 @ 6:31 pm

    • Hi Stacey! Good to hear from you! Come on up! Won’t be long now until the snow banks melt and more trails open up. Spring is beautiful up there!


      Comment by montucky — April 18, 2015 @ 8:45 pm

  13. In your second photo, is that moss growing atop the branches extending out from the tree trunk, or new growth of some sort? It looks to me like those are small branches that have snapped out, and some other form of plant life has moved in to set up housekeeping.

    The trail as a whole is beautiful. It’s a good day for being outdoors here, cool, sunny and dry, but we’ve had so much rain (4-6 inches) in a short time, with more before that, that most of the prairie and wildlife refuges wouldn’t be walkable: apart from boardwalks. A week of drying, and it will be good hiking weather around here, too.


    Comment by shoreacres — April 19, 2015 @ 9:42 am

    • That’s a species of lichen, fairly common here. Its bright color was what caused me to take the picture. Pretty stuff, eh?
      It’s good to have that rain, also good to have things dry out and return to more normal. Here, we could use the rain. Our forests at low elevations are tinder dry already.
      Today was good for hiking, but perhaps a bit warmer than I like. I hiked under a tall canopy of cedars though and the coolness of the deep shade was very welcome.


      Comment by montucky — April 19, 2015 @ 7:30 pm

  14. Looks like my kind of place! Nicely captured and presented, Terry.


    Comment by seekraz — April 20, 2015 @ 4:43 pm

  15. I love the deep shade of the forest and the quality of light there.


    Comment by Candace — April 25, 2015 @ 9:37 am

    • Yes, delightful, isn’t it. Our summers are not nearly as hot as yours are, but plenty hot enough for we who are used to cooler temperatures. It is very refreshing on those sunny days to be able to hike under the forest canopy. Very difficult to photograph though.


      Comment by montucky — April 25, 2015 @ 10:01 pm

  16. I would love to walk in this forest. I love pine forests.


    Comment by Sartenada — April 28, 2015 @ 11:58 pm

    • I wish that you could hike in this one. I know you would enjoy it!


      Comment by montucky — April 29, 2015 @ 7:43 pm

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