Heart Lake is the largest alpine lake on the Montana side of the northern Bitterroot Mountains, located in a cirque basin just below the Montana/Idaho divide in a huge area known as the Great Burn which is part of the three million acres that was burned in the fire of 1910. On October 22, I hiked up to it on the part of trail 171 that follows the South Fork of Trout Creek up from USFS road 250. Following are photos taken from along the trail. I will post photos of the lake itself in part (2).
Every year of so I hike up the trail to Mount Headley because of the beauty of the mountain and the surrounding country. It was the site of one of the first fire lookouts in Montana and sits at 7400 feet where it looks over many miles of forest in all directions. The four mile trail is rather gentle and it spreads the climb of 1400 feet evenly over its entire length. As a bonus, a short side trail at about the first mile point lets the hiker stand on a sheer, rocky cliff about 500 feet over the south end of a small cirque lake called Image Lake. I will never forget one morning a few years ago when I stood there watching the sun rise and listening to a wolf pack howling on the trail above me and down beside the lake. Mount Headley is an old friend.(The following photos were taken on October 15, 2015)