Montana Outdoors

June 28, 2015

June 2015 visit to Big Hole Lookout

Every summer I visit the old fire lookout near Big Hole Peak in the Cabinet Mountains of western Montana. The trail to it is good (USFS trail 368) and it’s a pleasant hike of only about 2.7 miles to the lookout. The elevation of Highway 200 is about 2400 feet; the elevation of the trail head is 5500 feet and the elevation at the lookout is 6922 feet. The old cabin is undergoing a restoration so it may be used as a rental for summer visitors who will enjoy some nice long distance views during their stay there. Deer, elk, possibly a moose, cougar, and black bears may be encountered on the road to the trail head or on the trail itself.

To reach the trail head, turn onto the Weeksville Creek road (USFS road 887) from Montana Highway 200, about six miles west of the town of Plains Montana. Then at about 3 miles turn left on USFS road 5587 and take it ten miles at which point it forks and both forks are closed by gates for the protection of wildlife. The trail head for 368 is right there. There is adequate parking for horse trailers before the gates. It is a single track road that is quite narrow in places but there are plenty of wider places where you can pass another vehicle. It is rocky (not muddy) and not a lot of fun to drive on when it’s icy or snow-covered.

Following are some photos of the trail, wildflowers along the trail, scenery and the lookout taken on June 11, 2015.

Penstemons

Bear Grass

Bear Grass

Big Hole Lookout trail

Bear Grass

Vetch

Larkspur

Big Hole Lookout trail

Big Hole Lookout trail

Big Hole Lookout trail

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Big Hole Lookout

Big Hole Lookout trail

Big Hole Lookout

East from Big Hole Lookout

Big Hole Lookout

Big Hole Lookout

Big Hole Lookout

Marmot Peak

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Big Hole Peak

Bear Grass

Vetch

Big Hole Lookout trail

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