Montana Outdoors

November 5, 2016

Cabin Lake

Yesterday a friend and I hiked to Cabin Lake, one of the many cirque lakes in the Cube Iron/Silcox roadless area in the Plains/Thompson Falls District of the Lolo National Forest here in western Montana. Following are photos of the trail and, of course, the lake itself which sits at about 6,000 feet.

Cabin Lake 1

The destination, Cabin Lake

Road to the trail head 2

In several places along the road to the trail head, which follows the west fork of Thompson River, it was necessary to build retaining walls to keep the rock slides from covering the road.

Cabin Lake trail 3

At the trail head, this bridge for foot and horse traffic spans the stream that issues from the lake. It is very welcome because the stream would be very difficult to ford.

Cabin Lake trail4 4

Along the bottom part of the trail it is covered by the golden leaves of Black cottonwoods; the “Yellow brick road”.

Cabin Lake trail 5

Cabin Lake trail 6

Cabin Lake trail 7

A smaller stream which is fortunately fordable without going over the top of hiking boots crosses the trail.

Cabin Lake trail 8

The lake sits in a glacier-formed recession just above and to the right of the cliffs in the background.

Cabin Lake trail 9

Cabin Lake trail 10

Cabin Lake trail 11

Cabin Lake trail 12

From the middle part of the trail you can see the mountainside that slopes down to the trail head.

Cabin Lake trail 13

The trail tops out in a saddle, then descends down to the lake which sits just below the peak in the distance.

Cabin Lake 14

This and the remaining photos are of the lake itself.

Cabin Lake 15

Cabin Lake 16

Cabin Lake

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51 Comments »

  1. Such a pretty trail with all the leaves on the ground.
    I’m amazed at the clarity of the lake water – truly a beautiful part of nature to behold.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Vicki — November 5, 2016 @ 11:25 pm

    • It’s a beautiful part of the back country. Cabin Lake does get quite a few visitors in summer but hardly any this time of year. Last year I hiked the trail to the top in mid May, but turned back because there was about 4 feet of snow on the trail and I was there late in the day so I turned back short of the lake. By mid June the trail was mostly clear and there were dozens of species of wildflowers along the trail.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — November 6, 2016 @ 8:16 am

  2. Stunning shots – great hike!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by nexi — November 6, 2016 @ 5:32 am

    • It’s well worth the effort to see the forest and the lake. Fortunately, this is in a roadless area and there is enough recreational use of the trail system through there that the trails will always (I hope) be maintained and protected.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — November 6, 2016 @ 8:18 am

  3. Nice trail.

    Like

    Comment by Malcolm R. Campbell — November 6, 2016 @ 6:39 am

    • It’s a favorite trail for a relatively short hike and steep enough that only those who like to be in the rather remote back country use it. It remains trash free.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — November 6, 2016 @ 8:20 am

  4. No snow! I was up Stevens Peak a couple of weeks ago and got stuck in knee deep snow

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by naughtyhiker — November 6, 2016 @ 6:58 am

    • There has been snow at the lake earlier and if you look closely at the photos you can see a thin film of ice on the lake. The warm, wet weather that we’ve had here lately has melted all but a few patches of snow. It won’t be long though until it’s white again up there.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — November 6, 2016 @ 8:22 am

      • Very. Hopefully i could do this before there’s too much snow. Otherwise definitely next year. I see it is featured in Rich Landers’ 100 hikes in the inland northwest

        Like

        Comment by naughtyhiker — November 6, 2016 @ 9:21 am

        • Luckily I live only about 35 miles from the trail head and the road is pretty good, but the trail head is at about 4700 feet and the trail tops out a 6000 before it goes down to the lake. A lot of weather can take place over that span this time of year! If you choose next summer it would be best to wait until about mid June.

          Like

          Comment by montucky — November 6, 2016 @ 9:38 am

  5. You still have beautiful weather for a while. I keep checking the weather and wishing we were still in Montana. Here it’s blowing and raining steadily. “Our” winter has descended on us early.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by wordsfromanneli — November 6, 2016 @ 7:03 am

    • The last couple of weeks has brought a few clear warm days and I want to take advantage of that to get in as many hikes as I can before the roads to the trail heads are closed by ice and snow. I suspect when winter comes here it will come very quickly.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — November 6, 2016 @ 8:24 am

      • That’s always our dilemma when we try to judge when to leave Montana. It’s no fun dragging a trailer over snowy roads.

        Like

        Comment by wordsfromanneli — November 6, 2016 @ 9:06 am

        • It’s always hard to guess what our weather will do in spring of fall day to day. I would not enjoy pulling a trailer over a pass in winter either!

          Liked by 1 person

          Comment by montucky — November 6, 2016 @ 9:33 am

  6. Nov 6 2016 Your photos lately have been wonderful. I spent many years trail riding and these pictures today bring back many memories.Also, recently have shared your site with friends who now are loving what you do too !!!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Jean in North Georgia mountains — November 6, 2016 @ 7:12 am

    • Thank you so much Jean! I also have lots of good memories of spending time on trails like this one. In this region we are blessed with many such trails: a lot of them are good for horses and there are many that are accessible only on foot. In the 1930’s and 40’s the Forest Service built fire lookouts on most of the peaks in the region (639 total in all of Montana) and the trails to them were created for pack strings to access the lookouts and take supplies to them. Fortunately most of those trails still exist and are maintained and they are treasures for anyone who loves to be in the back country. The areas in which they exist are usually so steep and rugged that they are relatively safe from development or exploitation by mining and logging, and also somewhat protected because they are have the designation of “inventoried roadless areas”. I hope they will always be that way!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — November 6, 2016 @ 8:39 am

  7. I can see why you wanted to go there. It is very beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Moore — November 6, 2016 @ 7:28 am

    • Thank you! That area is a good example of what our remote forests are like, having never been exploited. It requires a certain amount of effort to visit them but it provides a chance to find peace and solitude and a different perspective of the world in which we live.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — November 6, 2016 @ 8:47 am

  8. What a gorgeous place. I love the “yellow brick road”.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Brenda Davis Harsham — November 6, 2016 @ 10:26 am

    • Yes, it’s very pretty, and the day was nice and sunny and still a few fall colors around.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — November 6, 2016 @ 11:10 am

  9. Wonderful! Did you see any wild animals? It looks so tranquil!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Vy from VYLYST — November 6, 2016 @ 10:26 am

    • We saw no wildlife, but it was mid day when they are usually in the thickets sleeping. There were fresh elk tracks on the trail in one place though; we probably pushed one out ahead of us. Sometimes one sees goats on the cliffs, but none there that day.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — November 6, 2016 @ 11:13 am

  10. Gorgeous, and just what I needed as our weather is beginning to get mucky and horrible here!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Val — November 6, 2016 @ 11:24 am

    • It has been cold and rainy here today too. I love those clear fall days and Friday was one of them. After the heat and fires this summer though the colder weather feels wonderful.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — November 6, 2016 @ 11:28 am

  11. That’s a beautiful spot and a beautiful trail to get to it!
    I wouldn’t want to swim there now with that ice on the lake but in summer it must be heavenly. What views!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by New Hampshire Garden Solutions — November 6, 2016 @ 4:22 pm

  12. All pictures are wonderful but the trail pictures seem to just say “come follow me”. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Ron Mangels — November 7, 2016 @ 6:07 am

    • I have been forgetting to include some trail pictures in my posts, and most of these trails are pretty and inviting. Next time you are up here, this might be a hike you would like.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — November 7, 2016 @ 8:33 am

  13. What a fabulous place! Thanks for sharing these photos .. Love the fallen leaves ..

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Julie@frogpondfarm — November 8, 2016 @ 12:26 am

    • Glad you enjoyed seeing that area! Most of the fall color is past now, but the cottonwood leaves are still colorful. Soon they will be covered by snow until next June.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — November 8, 2016 @ 9:09 am

  14. I’m always happy to see the results when you take us along on your hikes! I especially liked the “yellow brick road.” 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Mama's Empty Nest — November 8, 2016 @ 8:19 am

    • I loves those leaves too. Who wouldn’t welcome a hike on a trail that begins like that!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — November 8, 2016 @ 9:10 am

  15. I especially liked the bridge, and the cottonwood leaves. It never had occurred to me that there are varieties of cottonwood. I need to double check the ones I saw in Kansas; they may or may not be the same variety. It took me a minute to realize the effect in the first cottonwood photos had been achieved by capturing the falling, as well as the fallen, leaves. Until I got into the Arkansas woods, I’d forgotten that you can hear leaves falling — even ones that aren’t so dry.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by shoreacres — November 8, 2016 @ 6:34 pm

    • The black cottonwood (Populus balsamifera L. subsp. trichocarpa) grows in the 9 western/northwestern states, but It must be very similar to the rest of the cottonwoods. I was actually surprised when I saw them here. I enjoyed not only seeing and hearing them fall, but also feeling them fall. After the first half mile or so of the trail it gets out of the cottonwoods but there parts of it were covered with orange Larch needles.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — November 8, 2016 @ 8:02 pm

  16. Glorious colours! That water is amazing. We had our first snowfall here in the Central Belt on Tuesday night. Still plenty of sunshine around to enjoy the trees, although the leaves are tumbling fast now.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Jo Woolf — November 10, 2016 @ 6:51 am

    • Thanks. There have been several snows here in the high country but none yet at valley level. It’s that time of year though!

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — November 11, 2016 @ 3:45 pm

  17. Beautiful. I like the bridge. I’ve never seen a retaining wall that looks like that.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Candace — November 12, 2016 @ 3:02 pm

    • There are several walls like that around here, but that is the largest one I’ve seen, and it really does its job.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — November 12, 2016 @ 4:49 pm

  18. I loved to see those landscapes on your hiking tour. I enjoyed every photo, they are crisp and beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Sartenada — November 17, 2016 @ 4:59 am

    • I’m pleased that you liked seeing the landscapes Matti! I’m glad that some places like that are being protected!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — November 17, 2016 @ 9:01 am

  19. this looks like a wonderful place to hike and enjoy. beautiful images.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Tammie — November 17, 2016 @ 12:51 pm

    • It’s a great place to visit and a hike that is quite popular during summer. Lonesome up there this time of year though.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — November 18, 2016 @ 10:13 am

  20. In Eve’s Philippine language, Lolo means grandfather. I expect some natural feature up there could pass for the Grandfather of the Mountains.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Steve Schwartzman — November 22, 2016 @ 9:51 pm

    • The name Lolo is a contracted form of the name of a French-Canadian fur trapper who was killed by a grizzly bear in this region. His name was Lawrence, pronounced by the Indians as Lou Lou. It is now the name of national forest, town, creek, mountain peak, mountain pass and historic trail in west central Montana.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — November 22, 2016 @ 10:25 pm

  21. Great photos of the lake and trail. A beautiful trail. I Liked the yellow brick reference. It fits so well.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by John Purdy — November 27, 2016 @ 12:10 pm

    • Glad you liked seeing the place. It’s a beautiful part of the country.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — November 27, 2016 @ 7:12 pm

  22. Your photos are so beautiful, I almost don´t know what to write. I can imagine how much you enjoy such a hike in this wild nature. Thank you for showing.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Giiid — December 8, 2016 @ 5:04 pm

    • Thank you Giiid. It is impossibly to describe how much I love that wild country.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — December 8, 2016 @ 5:29 pm

      • I think I understand, nature and you have become integrated, that is a state which one have to feel to understand. I guess that indigenous people would understand immediately.

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by Giiid — December 9, 2016 @ 4:55 am

        • Exactly, Giiid. I relate to many of the thoughts and beliefs of the indigenous people.

          Like

          Comment by montucky — December 9, 2016 @ 8:42 am


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