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

July 23, 2010

Cabin Lake (6)

As we descended the trail toward the trail head, on some cliffs off the trail we were treated to a view of one of the icons of the Rocky Mountains, somewhat rare now outside of Glacier Park; a Rocky Mountain Goat, (Oreamnos americanus). For obvious reasons, I couldn’t get any close-ups. When I was a child we saw them fairly often, but it has been years since I encountered one outside of the park. It was a very rare treat!

Mountain Goat

Mountain Goat

Mountain Goat

Mountain Goat

As if to make a closing statement at the very end of our Cabin Lake trip, along the Forest Service access road, these were in bloom, another wildflower that I had not encountered before.

Mountain hollyhocks,Mountain Hollyhocks, lliamna rivularis

July 22, 2010

Cabin Lake (5)

The last of the trail scenes.

It’s hard to leave a place when it looks this inviting.

Cabin Lake trail scene

A flat area above the switchbacks.

Cabin Lake trail scene

There are always the small things too.

Western MeadowrueWestern Meadowrue, Thalictrum occidentale

Away from the roads, the old Forest Service signage is still in excellent condition.

Along Cabin Lake trail

I’m not sure what this plant is, but the leaves are large and well defined, and it is plentiful in some areas.

Cabin Lake trail scene

The mountainsides just celebrate summer!

Cabin Lake trail scene

July 20, 2010

Cabin Lake (4)

Cabin Lake

Cabin Lake

Cabin Lake

Cabin Lake

On the odd chance that you ever wondered what the exact bottom of an 80 foot tall fir looked like, well, here is how it looks. Must have been quite a storm to leave this 10 foot diameter root ball in a vertical position and the tree in a horizontal one!

80 foot fir from beneath

I felt sorry to leave the lake, but the trail back down was inviting too. And there was a nice surprise near the end. Photos of that to come later.

Cabin Lake trail

July 19, 2010

Cabin Lake (3)

Cabin Lake hike, third set of photos. It was a great day for clouds!

Cabin Lake Trail scene

Cabin Lake Trail scene

The old signs that are far away from the roads are still in excellent shape although some of them are nearly eighty years old.

On Cabin Lake Trail

Cabin Lake

Cabin Lake



July 18, 2010

Cabin Lake (2)

This is the second set of photos of the Cabin Lake trail as we continued upwards.

Shrubby PenstemonShrubby penstemon, Penstemon fruticosus

Shrubby Penstemon

Shrubby Penstemon

Bear Grass

Cabin Lake trail

Cabin Lake trail sceneTrail 450 to Mt Headley starts here and is hidden by the ground cover.

Cabin Lake trail scene

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