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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.

Ross Creek Giant Cedar Grove, MT

no permit
44 1 0
Guide 1 Triplog  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List MT > Western
4 of 5 by 1
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Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Lasso-Loop 1 mile
Trailhead Elevation 2,838 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 1 hour
Interest Perennial Creek
Backpack No
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
44  2014-07-24 tibber
Author tibber
author avatar Guides 21
Routes 574
Photos 25,460
Trips 835 map ( 10,371 miles )
Age 63 Female Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Sep, Jun, May, Jul
Seasons   Late Spring to Early Autumn
Sun  6:23am - 6:52pm
0 Alternative
Flora Nearby
500 and counting
by tibber

Likely In-Season!
This scenic area is 100 acres and houses some 1000 year old cedar trees according to the Kootenai Forest Service website and other articles I've read but most other sites say more around 500 years old. This is an interpretive loop trail about 0.9 miles. There is another optional trail along the way: Ross Creek Trail 142 is 4.5 miles that follows Ross Creek. In fact I seem to recall there were two trails.

Area loggers first noted the beauty of the grove and then worked to protect the tall trees. In 1960, the Kootenai National Forest set aside the Ross Creek Cedar grove and established it as a scenic area protecting it for scientific and recreational value.

The hike takes you through a modified temperate rain forest climate which has allowed many of the cedars to grow up to 12 feet in diameter and 175 feet tall. They say some of the trees are over 500 years old, both alive and fallen. No matter, the canopy is quite tall and the fallen trees are fascinating to see how they landed. It seems when they are on the ground, you can appreciate better how big they were. Ground level is lush and full of flora including ferns, moss covered rocks and trunks and lots of Devil's Club.

Follow the boardwalk alongside Ross Creek and it will take you past some moss-covered rock slides. In fact, you will see moss everywhere. You will get to read informative signs that tell you about where you are looking. The forest floor has fallen trees, large and small scattered about. If you are in low light, keep that in mind when taking your pictures. You need to be very still or they will come out blurry.

You eventually cross the first wood plank bridge over Ross Creek. You will start to see all sorts of fir trees including Engelmann Spruce, Western Cedar and Hemlock, Grand Fir and Western White Pine. Fortunately there is an interpretive sign that explains the differences. You will also see some hollowed out trees that you or your friends can slip into for a portrait. You will see lots of Twins: usually they start from from several sprouts of a fallen tree. The interpretive sign will give you further details. And then there are trees twisted around each other for almost the full length of their trunks.

There are benches scattered about as well so you can sit and soak up this incredible environment. Be sure to put people in your photos as it provides great scale to the tall, tall trees. You will also see tree trunks that are still standing though there tops are no where to be seen. Some of these trunks are huge. You will walk over huge root systems and pass by those old fallen trees, some that are hollow inside or split in half on the ground.

I agree with a comment I read about it seeming like you're in a chapel when you're walking through... well except for the screaming kids from time to time. If you like the serenity of a tall forest with big and wide and aromatic trees and a running creek, put this on your list of things to do while in NW Montana.

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2014-08-08 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.

    Most recent Triplog Review
    Ross Creek Giant Cedar Grove
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Our second stop for the day on Hwy 2 as we make our way to Priest Lake, ID. It continued to be blustery as we drove from our Kootenai Falls hike, past Bull Lake and up into the altitude of the Ross Creek Cedars, recommended by a former Havre classmate via FB. The 4 mile drive on Ross Creek Rd 398 (after turning from Hiway 56) is on a narrow paved road with cedars and other trees on both sides of you.

    Question: can you get lost on a 1 mile loop?

    We kept our rain gear available as we started our walk alongside Ross Creek and past a moss covered rock slide. The light was not the best for filming this incredible cedar grove and I should have taken care to increase the exposure or to have taken my time in shooting pictures as we got a little blurry action from time to time. Of course, I didn't realize this until a couple days later when I reviewed the photos. There were a couple screaming kids that took away from the ambiance of the place for the first part until we got further in. The kids looked at it more like a playground where the adults felt it was more like a cathedral.

    The hike takes you through a modified temperate rain forest climate which has allowed many of the cedars to grow up to 12 feet in diameter and 175 feet tall. They say some of the trees are over 500 years old, both alive and fallen. The ground was slightly damp and it would rain lightly off and on and one time a little more heavy. The rain would also interfere with getting some upshots of the canopy way above our heads.

    About 1/4 mile in my camera battery went dead so I ran back to fetch another battery (I thot I had enough juice) and rejoined Connie as we meandered by these massive trunks :o that rose from the forest floor and extraordinarily green flora that covered the forest floor. There are many times when you would see triplets of trunks or huge doubles. There were a few broken off trunks that look like lightning had struck.

    There were quite a few of the fallen giants in various stages of decomposition. It was great to walk alongside :DANCE: these once tall beauties as you could appreciate there size even more. There was this one part where it looked like two side-by-side trees had fallen in each direction as the trail went between the two of them. There was this other area where it looked like a tree had not fallen long ago as it ended up on part of one of the benches that are scattered along this interpretive loop. I have to say, the interpretive signs were nicely done. It seemed we would have a question and then soon a sign would show up addressing our inquiring minds.

    Lo and behold I spotted something I had never seen before, it was a blooming Devil's Club and wow what a flower :budrose: . And then I saw that this whole section was blooming. What fun! There was also lots of foam flower which is so delicate and ferns of course. It started to rain some more so we thot it was time that we should be close to getting back to the TH. However, we started realizing we might be lost :-k as we passed by some things we had already seen. For all the wonderful interpretive signs there was none that said "exit this way".

    We tried a different well trod path only to find ourselves in a bit of an obstacle course. I saw some girls ahead and asked if they knew where they were and they said no, they were just trying to get back to the trail. And then another family came along and said they were confused as well. I think the low light and rain just made this a bit more difficult. We then ran into another family that were confused but not bothered by where they were or weren't. So I decided we just needed to go back the way we came and soon we were exiting on the path that had taken us in.

    When we got to the parking area I looked for another trail that would have brot us here but didn't see anything :-k . Well the rain was coming down now so it was time to get back in the vehicles anyway. Who knew I needed to bring my GPS for a so-called .9 mile loop :lol: . We think it may have been a lasso/lollipop kind of loop but we have no way of knowing and I can't find a trail map anywhere.

    In these videos you'll hear my cousin and me conversing now and again. I do apologize for the low light as it does deter from the quality of the video from time to time -
    Video 1 including the drive up Ross Cedar road:
    Video 2 including when we realize we might be lost:

    and it appears someone on youtube has been doing a thumbs down lately on my videos; don't know why they feel the need to do that but it won't stop me from posting them as way too many other folks tell me they enjoy them or find them informative, including me :SB:

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Troy, MT 3 miles east on US Highway 2. Turn onto Montana Highway 56 and travel 21 miles. Turn right onto Ross Creek Road 398 and follow for 4 miles.
    OR from Montana Highway 200 to Hwy 56 at the “Bull River Junction”. (About 25 to 30 minutes east of Clark Fork, or about 20 minutes west of Trout Creek). Turn north on Highway 56, go about 18 miles. Watch for the forest service sign for Ross Creek Cedars, turn left.

    Follow the signs to the parking lot for the Cedars
    page created by tibber on Aug 08 2014 1:26 pm
    3 pack - loud whistle
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