Morrell Falls Trail In Montana

Here is everything you need to know about the Morrell Falls Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Montana
  • Length: 2.5 miles.
  • Type: Hiking.
  • Surface: Dirt
  • Managed By: Lolo National Forest
  • Permit Required?: Yes.
  • Website:

The Morrell Falls Trail, located in the Lolo National Forest of Montana, holds a rich historical significance that dates back centuries. The area surrounding the trail was originally inhabited by the Salish and Kootenai Native American tribes, who relied on the abundant natural resources for their sustenance. They recognized the beauty and serenity of the area, often using it for spiritual and ceremonial purposes.

During the late 1800s, European settlers began to explore and settle in the region. The trail itself was named after a local homesteader, John Morrell, who arrived in the area in the early 1900s. Morrell recognized the potential of the stunning waterfall and its surroundings, and he played a significant role in promoting the area’s natural beauty.

In the early 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) arrived in the Lolo National Forest as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal program. The CCC workers constructed the Morrell Falls Trail, among many other projects, to provide recreational opportunities for the public while also conserving the natural resources of the area. The trail was designed to showcase the breathtaking Morrell Falls, a 90-foot cascade that has become a popular attraction for hikers and nature enthusiasts.

Over the years, the Morrell Falls Trail has remained a beloved destination for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a glimpse into the region’s rich history and natural beauty. The trail’s historical significance, from its Native American roots to the contributions of early settlers and the CCC, adds to its allure and makes it a cherished part of Montana’s heritage.

While On The Trail

Access Points

The major access points or trailheads along the Morrell Falls Trail are:

1. Morrell Falls Trailhead: This is the main trailhead for the Morrell Falls Trail. It is located off Highway 83, approximately 20 miles south of Seeley Lake, Montana.

2. Morrell Creek Trailhead: This is an alternative trailhead for the Morrell Falls Trail. It is located further down the Morrell Creek Road, about 2 miles from the main trailhead.

3. Morrell Lake Trailhead: This trailhead provides access to Morrell Lake, which is located along the Morrell Falls Trail. It is a popular starting point for those who want to hike to the falls and then continue on to the lake.

4. Upper Morrell Falls Trailhead: This trailhead is located further up the trail, closer to the upper section of Morrell Falls. It is a good starting point for those who want to hike a shorter distance to the falls.

5. Lower Morrell Falls Trailhead: This trailhead is located closer to the lower section of Morrell Falls. It is a good starting point for those who want to hike a shorter distance to the falls or for those who want to access the falls from a different direction.

Please note that these access points may have different names or designations depending on the source or map you are using. It is always recommended to check with local authorities or reliable sources for the most up-to-date information on trailheads and access points.

Transportation Available

1. Morrell Falls Trailhead Parking Lot – Convenient parking area for hikers visiting Morrell Falls Trail.
2. Missoula International Airport – Nearby airport offering domestic and limited international flights.
3. Glacier Park International Airport – Regional airport serving the Glacier National Park area.
4. Amtrak Station – Train station providing rail transportation services.
5. Greyhound Bus Station – Bus station offering long-distance bus services.
6. Local Taxi Services – Various taxi companies providing transportation within the area.
7. Car Rental Agencies – Multiple car rental companies offering vehicle rentals for independent travel.
8. Ride-Sharing Services – Popular ride-sharing platforms like Uber and Lyft available in the area.
9. Bicycle Rental Shops – Local shops offering bicycle rentals for exploring the surroundings.
10. Local Shuttle Services – Shuttle services providing transportation to nearby attractions and destinations.


The amenities available at the Morrell Falls Trail include:

1. Restrooms: There are restroom facilities available at the trailhead.

2. Parking: There is a parking area provided for visitors to park their vehicles.

3. Camping sites: There are designated camping sites along the trail where visitors can set up their tents and spend the night.

4. Picnic areas: There are picnic areas with tables and benches where visitors can enjoy a meal or snack.

5. Trail markers: The trail is well-marked with signs and markers to guide hikers along the route.

6. Information boards: There are information boards at the trailhead providing details about the trail, its length, difficulty level, and safety precautions.

7. Benches: There are benches placed at various points along the trail where hikers can rest and take in the scenery.

8. Trash bins: There are trash bins provided along the trail to encourage visitors to dispose of their waste properly.

9. Interpretive signs: There are interpretive signs along the trail that provide information about the flora, fauna, and history of the area.

10. Water source: There is a water source available at the trailhead where visitors can refill their water bottles.

Please note that amenities may be subject to change or seasonal availability, so it is always a good idea to check with local authorities or visitor centers for the most up-to-date information.

Nearby Services

1. Lodging:
– Morrell Mountain Lookout: A rustic mountain lookout offering panoramic views and basic amenities.
– Seeley Lake Lodging: Various accommodations available in the nearby town of Seeley Lake.

2. Food Services:
– Morrell Falls Grill: A casual restaurant serving American cuisine near the trailhead.
– Seeley Lake Restaurants: Several dining options available in Seeley Lake, offering a variety of cuisines.

3. Emergency Services:
– Seeley Lake Medical Clinic: A medical facility providing emergency services and healthcare in Seeley Lake.
– Seeley Lake Fire Department: Local fire department offering emergency response services in the area.

Morrell Falls Trail Difficulty Notes

The Morrell Falls Trail offers a moderate difficulty level, making it suitable for hikers of various skill levels. The trail spans approximately 6.5 miles round trip and features a gradual incline, making it accessible for most hikers. While there are some rocky sections and tree roots along the path, they can be easily navigated with proper footwear and caution. The trail also provides beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and a rewarding destination at the end – the stunning Morrell Falls. Overall, the Morrell Falls Trail offers a manageable challenge for hikers seeking a scenic and enjoyable outdoor experience.

Features And Attractions

Along the Morrell Falls Trail, you can find several scenic views, historical sites, natural landmarks, and more. Here are some notable points of interest along the trail:

1. Morrell Falls: The trail leads to the stunning Morrell Falls, a 90-foot waterfall cascading down a rocky cliff. It is the main highlight of the trail and offers a breathtaking view.

2. Swan Range: As you hike through the trail, you’ll be surrounded by the beautiful Swan Range, a mountain range known for its rugged peaks and pristine wilderness.

3. Larch Trees: The trail passes through a forest of larch trees, which turn a vibrant golden color in the fall, creating a picturesque landscape.

4. Morrell Lake: Along the trail, you’ll come across Morrell Lake, a serene alpine lake surrounded by towering mountains. It offers a peaceful spot to rest and enjoy the scenery.

5. Historical Logging Sites: The area around the trail was once heavily logged, and you can still find remnants of old logging camps and equipment along the way. These historical sites provide a glimpse into the region’s past.

6. Wildflowers: During the summer months, the trail is adorned with a variety of wildflowers, including lupines, Indian paintbrush, and columbines, adding vibrant colors to the landscape.

7. Wildlife: Keep an eye out for wildlife along the trail, as the area is home to various species. You may spot deer, elk, moose, black bears, or even bald eagles soaring above.

8. Mountain Views: As you ascend the trail, you’ll be rewarded with stunning panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, including the Swan Range and the Mission Mountains.

9. Picnic Areas: There are designated picnic areas along the trail, providing a perfect spot to enjoy a packed lunch while taking in the beautiful surroundings.

10. Hiking Challenges: The trail offers a moderate level of difficulty, with some steep sections and rocky terrain. These challenges add to the adventure and make the journey even more rewarding.

Remember to check local regulations and trail conditions before embarking on your hike to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Usage Guidelines

1. Pets are allowed on the Morrell Falls Trail but must be kept on a leash at all times.
2. Camping is not permitted along the trail or at the falls.
3. Open fires are prohibited, including campfires and charcoal grills.
4. Motorized vehicles, including bicycles, are not allowed on the trail.
5. Hunting and fishing are allowed in accordance with state regulations.
6. The trail is open year-round, but access may be limited during winter months due to snow and ice.
7. Visitors are encouraged to practice Leave No Trace principles and pack out all trash.
8. Swimming is allowed in the designated swimming area at Morrell Falls, but caution is advised as there are no lifeguards on duty.
9. Overnight camping is available at nearby campgrounds, but not directly on the trail.
10. Visitors are advised to check weather conditions and be prepared for changing weather, as the trail can be exposed to sun, wind, and rain.

Seasonal Information

The Morrell Falls Trail, located in the beautiful state of Montana, offers a stunning hiking experience for outdoor enthusiasts. While the trail is accessible year-round, there are certain times of the year that are considered the best for visiting. The summer months, from June to August, are the most popular due to the pleasant weather and the abundance of wildflowers that adorn the trail. During this time, the trail is alive with vibrant colors, and the cascading Morrell Falls is at its fullest, creating a picturesque scene for hikers.

Another great time to visit the Morrell Falls Trail is during the fall season, from September to October. As the leaves change their colors, the trail transforms into a breathtaking display of autumn hues. The crisp air and cooler temperatures make for comfortable hiking conditions, and the trail is less crowded compared to the summer months. Fall also offers the opportunity to witness wildlife preparing for winter, such as deer and elk, adding to the allure of the trail.

It is important to note that the Morrell Falls Trail has seasonal closures during the winter months. Typically, from November to May, the trail is closed due to heavy snowfall and potentially hazardous conditions. The closure ensures the safety of hikers and protects the natural environment. However, for those who enjoy winter activities, such as snowshoeing or cross-country skiing, the closure of the trail does not mean the area is off-limits. The surrounding landscape offers ample opportunities for winter adventures, making it a great alternative for outdoor enthusiasts during this time.

In conclusion, the best times to visit the Morrell Falls Trail are during the summer and fall seasons when the weather is pleasant, and the trail showcases its natural beauty. However, it is important to be aware of the seasonal closures during the winter months. Whether you choose to explore the trail during its peak season or venture into the surrounding winter wonderland, the Morrell Falls Trail promises a memorable experience for nature lovers and hikers alike.


1. Wheelchair Accessibility: The Morrell Falls Trail is not wheelchair accessible due to its rugged terrain and natural obstacles.
2. ADA Parking: Designated accessible parking spaces are available at the trailhead for visitors with disabilities.
3. Accessible Restrooms: Accessible restrooms are provided at the trailhead for individuals with mobility challenges.
4. Trail Surface: The trail surface consists of natural terrain, including dirt, rocks, and tree roots, which may pose challenges for wheelchair users.
5. Trail Width: The trail width varies throughout the trail, and some sections may not be wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs.
6. Steep Sections: The trail includes steep sections that may be difficult for individuals with mobility impairments to navigate.
7. Benches and Rest Areas: Benches and rest areas are available along the trail, providing opportunities for visitors to take breaks and rest.
8. Assistance Animals: Service animals are allowed on the trail to assist individuals with disabilities.
9. Signage: The trail features signage with information and directions, including accessible routes and potential obstacles.
10. Accessibility Information: Visitors can find detailed accessibility information on the official Morrell Falls Trail website or by contacting the park authorities.

Safety Information

1. Trail Difficulty: Moderate – The Morrell Falls Trail is moderately challenging, suitable for hikers with some experience.
2. Length: 6.5 miles round trip – The trail is approximately 6.5 miles in total length, requiring a few hours to complete.
3. Elevation Gain: 1,200 feet – Hikers will ascend around 1,200 feet in elevation throughout the trail.
4. Trailhead Parking: Limited – The parking area at the trailhead is limited, so arriving early is recommended.
5. Weather Conditions: Check before hiking – Be sure to check the weather forecast before heading out, as conditions can change rapidly.
6. Proper Footwear: Wear sturdy shoes – It is essential to wear sturdy hiking shoes or boots to navigate the rocky and uneven terrain.
7. Water Availability: Bring enough water – Carry an ample supply of water, as there are no water sources along the trail.
8. Sun Protection: Wear sunscreen and a hat – Protect yourself from the sun’s rays by wearing sunscreen and a hat.
9. Bug Repellent: Use insect repellent – Apply insect repellent to ward off mosquitoes and other bugs.
10. Wildlife Encounter: Be aware of bears – Be cautious and make noise to avoid surprising any bears that may be in the area.
11. Trail Markers: Follow the trail markers – Pay attention to the trail markers to stay on the designated path.
12. Leave No Trace: Pack out your trash – Practice Leave No Trace principles by carrying out all trash and leaving the trail as you found it.
13. Hiking in Groups: Consider hiking with others – It is recommended to hike with a group for safety and companionship.
14. Cell Phone Reception: Limited or no reception – Expect limited or no cell phone reception along the trail.
15. Emergency Preparedness: Carry a first aid kit – Bring a basic first aid kit in case of any minor injuries on the trail.
16. Trail Closure: Check for closures – Occasionally, the trail may be closed due to maintenance or safety concerns, so check for any closures before heading out.
17. Time Management: Start early – Begin your hike early in the day to allow enough time to complete the trail and return before dark.
18. Trail Etiquette: Yield to uphill hikers – Give right of way to hikers ascending the trail.
19. Wilderness Area: Respect the wilderness – Treat the area with respect, avoid littering, and stay on the designated trail.
20. Enjoy the Scenery: Take time to appreciate the beautiful surroundings – Pause and enjoy the stunning views and natural beauty along the Morrell Falls Trail.

Conservation Notes

The Morrell Falls Trail, located in the Swan Valley of Montana, is a popular hiking destination known for its stunning natural beauty and diverse wildlife. In terms of conservation status, the trail and its surrounding ecosystem are considered to be in relatively good condition. The area is protected within the Lolo National Forest, ensuring its preservation and management for future generations.

The Morrell Falls Trail is situated within a designated Wilderness Study Area, which signifies its ecological significance and the need for its protection. This status restricts certain activities, such as motorized vehicles and commercial development, to maintain the trail’s pristine condition. The trail is also subject to regular monitoring and maintenance by forest rangers and volunteers to prevent erosion and preserve its natural features.

The conservation efforts for the Morrell Falls Trail extend beyond its immediate surroundings. The trail is part of a larger network of protected areas, including the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex, which safeguards a vast expanse of unspoiled wilderness. This interconnected system of protected lands ensures the preservation of critical habitats for a wide range of plant and animal species, contributing to the overall conservation status of the Morrell Falls Trail and its surrounding ecosystem.

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