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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Kootenai Falls and Swinging Bridge, MT

Guide 1 Triplog  0 Topics
  4 of 5 
no permit
41 1 0
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Difficulty 1 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 1.44 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,953 feet
Accumulated Gain 162 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 1.5
Kokopelli Seeds 2.25
Interest Perennial Waterfall & Perennial Creek
Backpack No
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
41  2014-07-24 tibber
Author tibber
author avatar Guides 21
Routes 589
Photos 28,813
Trips 1,097 map ( 12,796 miles )
Age 65 Female Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   May, Sep, Apr, Jun
Seasons   ALL
Sun  4:42am - 8:49pm
0 Alternative

Swinging over the river
by tibber

Likely In-Season!
This hike has two features, a lot of bang for such a little walk: the bridge, the falls. Both of which can be accessed via trails thru a cedar grove from the parking lot.

12 people have died around this river so please be careful. Signs are posted as such when you start your hike from the parking area.

The Swinging Bridge was built by the Forest Service to access forest fires across the Kootenai River. It was destroyed by a 1948 flood. The bridge (featured in the movie The River Wild) is now on concrete piers and protected from flooding by Libby Dam 23 miles upstream. Going over this bridge and wandering to the east above the river, you will get a view of the largest undamned falls in the state of Montana: Kootenai Falls.

The brilliant turquoise blue water is colored from the residues and deposits of the steady carving of glaciers primarily located in its British Columbian headwaters. The geology of the area is fascinating and there are interpretive signs at the parking area to fill you in about some of the facts.

The falls can be reached via a short (half mile) hike from the parking area located on Highway 2. Starting from the parking lot, head east past two moss-roofed outhouses, a barbecue area, past some more interpretive signs, across a railroad overpass (overpass bridge, a metal staircase of 64 see-through metal grate steps) to an intersection where you have the option to go to the bridge first or the falls, your choice. It is a total of 1/4 mile hike to the falls from the signed intersection on a flat trail though there is one side trail for an extra viewpoint. Stay on the main trail to get to the falls.

The river drops 90 feet in less than a mile before creating the 30 foot high Kootenai Falls. The main falls is wide. After the initial drop the river splits around an island. According to what I read, the right channel, which is unseen to the eye of one on the left bank, tumbles over a twenty-foot drop called Tahiti falls. I read that: In the winter, the falls transforms into a spectacular cascading iceflow, and bald eagles can be seen perched in the bare cottonwood trees along the water's edge.

To get to the bridge from the intersection, it's about 1/3 mile thru some great smelling cedar forest (western and hemlock). You can hear the rush of the water as you get closer to the bridge which spans Kootenai River Gorge. Once on the bridge (limit of 5 people per crossing), you not only have a view of the river but of the Cabinet Mountain Wilderness. After crossing the bridge I suggest taking at least the short walk to the (right) east, observe some of the geology (Stromatolites) and take in the falls from this viewpoint.

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2014-08-07 tibber
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    US Hwy 2 between Libby and Troy, milepost 21. (3 miles east of Troy, MT or 20 miles west of Libby, MT).
    There is a concession stand, restrooms and interpretive signs.
    page created by tibber on Aug 07 2014 9:57 am
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
    help comment issue

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