Trout Creek Loop In Montana

Here is everything you need to know about the Trout Creek Loop:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Montana
  • Length: 22.2 miles.
  • Type: Hiking
  • Surface: dirt
  • Managed By: U.S. Forest Service
  • Permit Required?: No
  • Website: Info not available.

The Trout Creek Loop is a historic trail located in the beautiful state of Montana, United States. This loop has a rich history that dates back to the early 19th century when it was used by Native American tribes for hunting and trading. The area surrounding the loop was inhabited by the Salish, Kootenai, and Pend d’Oreille tribes, who relied on the abundant wildlife and natural resources found in the region.

In the mid-1800s, European settlers began to explore and settle in the area, leading to increased use of the Trout Creek Loop. The trail became an important transportation route for miners and loggers, as it provided access to the vast timber and mineral resources of the region. The loop was also utilized by fur trappers and traders, who established trading posts along the trail to facilitate commerce with the Native American tribes.

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Trout Creek Loop played a significant role in the development of the surrounding communities. It served as a vital link between the towns of Trout Creek, Noxon, and Thompson Falls, enabling the transportation of goods, mail, and people. The loop was often traveled by horse-drawn wagons and later by automobiles, as the area experienced an influx of settlers and the construction of roads and bridges.

Today, the Trout Creek Loop stands as a testament to the rich history of the region. It offers visitors a chance to explore the same trails that were once traversed by Native Americans, pioneers, and traders. The loop provides a glimpse into the past, showcasing the importance of this trail in shaping the cultural and economic landscape of Montana.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Trout Creek Trailhead: This is the main access point for the Trout Creek Loop. It is located at the end of Trout Creek Road and provides parking and facilities for hikers.

2. Trout Creek Campground: This campground is located near the trailhead and offers camping facilities for those who want to spend the night before or after their hike.

3. Trout Creek Falls Trailhead: This trailhead is located along the loop and provides access to the Trout Creek Falls Trail. It offers parking and facilities for hikers.

4. Mad Creek Trailhead: This trailhead is another access point along the loop and provides parking and facilities for hikers. It is located near Mad Creek, which is a popular spot for fishing and picnicking.

5. Red Dirt Trailhead: This trailhead is located along the loop and provides access to the Red Dirt Trail. It offers parking and facilities for hikers.

6. Dry Lake Trailhead: This trailhead is located along the loop and provides access to the Dry Lake Trail. It offers parking and facilities for hikers.

7. Spring Creek Trailhead: This trailhead is located along the loop and provides access to the Spring Creek Trail. It offers parking and facilities for hikers.

8. Fish Creek Falls Trailhead: This trailhead is located near the loop and provides access to the Fish Creek Falls Trail. It offers parking and facilities for hikers.

Transportation Available

1. Trout Creek Shuttle – Shuttle service providing transportation around the Trout Creek Loop.
2. Trout Creek Taxi – Taxi service available for convenient transportation in and around the Trout Creek Loop.
3. Trout Creek Bike Rentals – Bike rental service offering a fun and eco-friendly way to explore the Trout Creek Loop.
4. Trout Creek Car Rentals – Car rental service providing flexible transportation options for exploring the Trout Creek Loop.
5. Trout Creek Bus Service – Bus service offering affordable and reliable transportation along the Trout Creek Loop.


The amenities available at the Trout Creek Loop may vary depending on the specific location or park. However, here are some common amenities that you may find:

1. Restrooms: Public restrooms or portable toilets may be available for visitors to use.

2. Parking: Parking areas or designated parking spaces may be provided for visitors’ vehicles.

3. Camping Sites: Campgrounds or designated camping areas may be available for overnight stays. These sites may include tent sites, RV sites, or cabins.

4. Picnic Areas: Designated picnic areas with tables, benches, and sometimes grills may be provided for visitors to enjoy outdoor meals.

5. Hiking Trails: The Trout Creek Loop may offer hiking trails for visitors to explore the surrounding natural beauty.

6. Fishing Spots: If the Trout Creek Loop is near a body of water, there may be designated fishing spots for anglers to enjoy.

7. Boat Launch: If there is a lake or river nearby, a boat launch area may be available for visitors to launch their boats or kayaks.

8. Playground: Some parks or recreational areas may have playgrounds for children to enjoy.

9. Interpretive Signs: Informational signs or boards may be placed along the loop to provide educational information about the area’s flora, fauna, or history.

10. Wildlife Viewing Areas: Designated areas may be available for visitors to observe and appreciate the local wildlife.

It is recommended to check with the specific park or recreation area where the Trout Creek Loop is located for the most accurate and up-to-date information on available amenities.

Nearby Services

1. Trout Creek Lodge – Cozy lodging option near the loop.
2. Mountain View Inn – Convenient accommodation with scenic views.
3. Riverside Campground – Campsite along the Trout Creek, perfect for outdoor enthusiasts.
4. Trout Creek Diner – Local eatery serving delicious comfort food.
5. Pinecone Cafe – Quaint café offering homemade meals and baked goods.
6. Trout Creek General Store – One-stop shop for groceries and supplies.
7. Trout Creek Medical Clinic – Emergency medical services available.
8. Trout Creek Police Department – Local law enforcement agency.
9. Trout Creek Fire Department – Emergency fire response services.
10. Trout Creek Post Office – Postal services for the area.

Trout Creek Loop Difficulty Notes

The Trout Creek Loop is a moderately challenging hiking trail that offers a diverse and rewarding experience for outdoor enthusiasts. With a total distance of approximately 10 miles, the trail presents a mix of steep ascents and descents, rocky terrain, and narrow sections that require careful footing. While the trail is well-marked and maintained, hikers should be prepared for some technical sections that may require scrambling over rocks or fallen trees. Additionally, the loop includes several stream crossings, which can be challenging during periods of high water flow. Overall, the Trout Creek Loop is best suited for intermediate hikers who are comfortable with uneven terrain and have a moderate level of fitness.

Features And Attractions

The Trout Creek Loop is a scenic drive located in the state of Montana, USA. While there are several points of interest along the route, here are some of the notable scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks you can find:

1. Trout Creek: The loop starts and ends in the town of Trout Creek, which is known for its beautiful surroundings and access to outdoor activities like fishing and hiking.

2. Noxon Reservoir: As you drive along the loop, you’ll pass by the Noxon Reservoir, a large body of water surrounded by mountains. It offers stunning views and opportunities for boating and fishing.

3. Vermilion River: The Vermilion River flows through the area, providing picturesque views and opportunities for fishing and wildlife spotting.

4. Cabinet Mountains: The Trout Creek Loop takes you through the Cabinet Mountains, a rugged and scenic mountain range. The mountains offer breathtaking views and opportunities for hiking and wildlife viewing.

5. Ross Creek Cedars: Located near the loop, the Ross Creek Cedars Scenic Area is home to a grove of ancient western red cedar trees. Walking along the trail, you can admire these towering giants, some of which are over 500 years old.

6. Bull River Valley: The loop takes you through the Bull River Valley, a picturesque area known for its lush forests, meandering river, and abundant wildlife. Keep an eye out for deer, elk, and various bird species.

7. Thompson Falls: Located near the loop, Thompson Falls is a charming town with a scenic waterfall. You can take a short detour to visit the falls and enjoy the natural beauty of the area.

8. Historic Sites: While not directly on the loop, there are several historic sites in the surrounding area. These include the Old Jail Museum in Thompson Falls, the Heron Historical Museum, and the Trout Creek Jail Museum.

These are just a few of the many scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks you can explore along the Trout Creek Loop. Remember to check for any specific attractions or events happening during your visit to make the most of your trip.

Usage Guidelines

1. Pets are allowed on the Trout Creek Loop but must be kept on a leash at all times.
2. Please clean up after your pets and dispose of waste properly.
3. Camping is allowed only in designated camping areas along the loop.
4. Open fires are permitted only in designated fire rings or grills.
5. Do not damage or remove any natural or cultural resources.
6. Hunting and fishing are allowed in accordance with state regulations.
7. Motorized vehicles are not allowed on the trail, except for authorized maintenance vehicles.
8. Bicycles are allowed on the trail but must yield to pedestrians.
9. Stay on designated trails and do not create new paths.
10. Respect seasonal restrictions, such as closures during wildlife mating or nesting seasons.
11. Leave no trace: pack out all trash and leave the area as you found it.
12. Overnight camping requires a valid permit, which can be obtained from the park office.
13. Swimming or wading in Trout Creek is allowed but at your own risk.
14. Be aware of and respect other trail users, including hikers, bikers, and equestrians.
15. Follow any additional rules or guidelines posted at trailheads or along the loop.

Seasonal Information

The Trout Creek Loop is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, pristine alpine lakes, and an abundance of wildlife. While it can be enjoyed year-round, there are certain times of the year that are considered the best for visiting this area.

One of the most popular times to visit the Trout Creek Loop is during the summer months, from June to August. During this time, the weather is generally mild and pleasant, with temperatures ranging from the 60s to 80s Fahrenheit (15-30 degrees Celsius). The wildflowers are in full bloom, creating a vibrant and colorful landscape. Hiking and camping opportunities are abundant, and the lakes are perfect for swimming, fishing, and kayaking. It’s important to note that summer is also the busiest time, so expect more crowds and make sure to book accommodations in advance.

Another great time to visit the Trout Creek Loop is during the fall season, from September to October. The foliage transforms into a stunning display of reds, oranges, and yellows, making it a paradise for photographers and nature lovers. The temperatures start to cool down, ranging from the 40s to 70s Fahrenheit (5-20 degrees Celsius), creating a comfortable environment for hiking and exploring. Fall also brings fewer crowds, allowing for a more peaceful and serene experience.

It’s worth mentioning that the Trout Creek Loop has seasonal closures during the winter months, typically from November to May. The heavy snowfall and harsh weather conditions make it unsafe for visitors to access the area. However, if you’re an experienced winter adventurer, you can still enjoy cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling in the surrounding areas. Just make sure to check for road and trail closures, as well as avalanche conditions, before planning your trip.

In conclusion, the best times to visit the Trout Creek Loop are during the summer and fall seasons. Summer offers pleasant weather, blooming wildflowers, and a wide range of outdoor activities. Fall showcases stunning foliage and a quieter atmosphere. However, it’s important to note that the area is closed during the winter due to heavy snowfall and dangerous conditions.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Trail: The Trout Creek Loop features a wheelchair accessible trail that allows individuals with mobility challenges to navigate the loop with ease.
2. Paved Pathways: The loop includes paved pathways, ensuring smooth and accessible surfaces for wheelchair users.
3. Accessible Parking: The Trout Creek Loop offers designated accessible parking spaces near the trailhead, providing convenient access for individuals with disabilities.
4. Accessible Restrooms: ADA-compliant restrooms are available near the trailhead, ensuring wheelchair accessibility and convenience.
5. Handrails: The loop features handrails along certain sections, providing additional support and stability for individuals with mobility impairments.
6. Benches and Rest Areas: Wheelchair accessible benches and rest areas are strategically placed along the loop, allowing individuals to take breaks and enjoy the surroundings.
7. Signage: The trail includes clear and visible signage with universal symbols, making it easier for individuals with visual impairments to navigate the loop.
8. Assistance Animals: The Trout Creek Loop welcomes assistance animals, allowing individuals with disabilities to have their service animals accompany them on the trail.
9. Accessible Picnic Areas: ADA-compliant picnic areas are available near the loop, providing accessible spaces for individuals to enjoy outdoor meals and gatherings.
10. Accessibility Information: The Trout Creek Loop provides comprehensive accessibility information on their website or at the trailhead, ensuring individuals can plan their visit accordingly.

Safety Information

1. Trail Difficulty: Moderate to strenuous, with steep sections and uneven terrain.
2. Weather Conditions: Be prepared for changing weather conditions, including sudden rainstorms and temperature drops.
3. Trail Markings: Pay attention to trail markers and signs to avoid getting lost.
4. Wildlife Encounter: Be cautious of encounters with bears, mountain lions, and other wildlife; carry bear spray and make noise while hiking.
5. Water Sources: Carry enough water or water filtration system as there are limited water sources along the trail.
6. Sun Protection: Wear sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses to protect against sunburn and heat exhaustion.
7. Footwear: Wear sturdy hiking boots with good traction to navigate rocky and uneven terrain.
8. First Aid Kit: Carry a basic first aid kit with essentials like bandages, antiseptic, and pain relievers.
9. Emergency Communication: Carry a fully charged cell phone or a satellite communication device for emergencies.
10. Hiking in Groups: It is recommended to hike in groups for safety and to have someone who can seek help if needed.
11. Leave No Trace: Practice Leave No Trace principles by packing out all trash and minimizing impact on the environment.
12. Trail Conditions: Check for recent trail conditions and closures before embarking on the hike.
13. Time Management: Plan your hike according to daylight hours and allow enough time to complete the loop safely.
14. Physical Fitness: Ensure you are physically fit for the hike and have trained for the distance and elevation gain.
15. Emergency Preparedness: Familiarize yourself with the location of the nearest emergency services and have a plan in case of an emergency.

Conservation Notes

The Trout Creek Loop is a region of significant conservation importance due to its unique ecological characteristics and the presence of several threatened and endangered species. This area is designated as a critical habitat for various wildlife species, including the endangered California red-legged frog (Rana draytonii) and the threatened western pond turtle (Actinemys marmorata). The loop also supports a diverse array of plant species, some of which are considered rare or endemic to the region.

Conservation efforts in the Trout Creek Loop primarily focus on preserving and restoring the habitat of these vulnerable species. This involves implementing measures to protect water quality, maintain suitable breeding and foraging grounds, and prevent the spread of invasive species. Additionally, land management practices aim to reduce disturbances and maintain the natural ecological processes that are essential for the long-term survival of the area’s biodiversity.

Conservation organizations and government agencies collaborate to monitor the population trends and habitat conditions of the species within the Trout Creek Loop. These efforts help inform management decisions and ensure that conservation actions are effective in safeguarding the area’s unique ecological values. By prioritizing the protection of this region and its threatened species, conservationists aim to maintain the integrity of the Trout Creek Loop and contribute to the overall conservation of biodiversity in the surrounding landscape.

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