By DONNA HULL
How long has it been since you’ve been to Blodgett Canyon, the Bitterroot Valley’s version of Yosemite? Long-time Missoula boomers have probably hiked Blodgett Canyon Trail more times than they can count. Today, I’m giving you a virtual nudge for a return visit.
When my husband Alan and I hiked the trail earlier this summer, we found nature’s drama as soon as we drove into the parking area. Vertical granite cliffs—the remnants of ancient glacial action—towered above the trees, and us.
Once on the trail, another force of nature was visible as well—fire damage from the Blodgett fire of 2000. But, rather than being a depressing scene, nature offered up the optimism of rejuvenation. Wildflowers and shrubs have reclaimed the area providing habitat for birds and a wide-open view of those granite cliffs.
Blodgett Trail is rewarding no matter how far you go. It’s 12.5 miles to Blodgett Lake, but that’s more of a backpacking trip. Back to our little hike: I’ll admit that we only went a mile or two. Blame it on our tendency to stop and photograph at every turn of the trail or the fact that we got a late start and I was hungry for breakfast at Memories Café.
Travel tip: Bring binoculars for birding or to watch humans climb one of the prime climbing areas in the Bitterroots.
Travel tip: Bring your camera for possible sightings of mountain goats, moose, elk or deer.
Next time, we’ll hike the 3.1 miles of easy-going trail to reach a footbridge that crosses the creek, a good turnaround point. Or, we might continue about a mile more for a waterfall view.
Travel tip: For the first few miles, the trail follows the creek and there are several deep pools. Bring your pole and fishing license for a fun day of catch and release.
A trip to Blodgett Canyon to see the fall color sounds like a good idea to me. Or this winter, I’ll switch from hiking shoes to snow shoes for a cool winter walk. Rumor has it that I might see ice climbers.
If you go:
From Missoula, drive Highway 93 south for 51.2 miles. Turn right onto Bowman Rd, then turn left onto W. River Rd. Turn left onto Ricketts Rd, continue onto Blodgett Camp Rd., stay right and continue to the trailhead.
Have you hiked in Blodgett Canyon? Tell me all about it.
See all of Donna Hull’s blogs.
Donna L. Hull writes about active travel for baby boomers at My Itchy Travel Feet, The Baby Boomer’s Guide to Travel. She is also the author of My Itchy Travel Feet, Breathtaking Adventure Vacation Ideas, available at Amazon Kindle, Nook and iTunes.