Vinal Creek Trail #9/ Purcell Summit In Montana

Here is everything you need to know about the Vinal Creek Trail #9/ Purcell Summit:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Montana
  • Length: 25 miles.
  • Type: Hiking
  • Surface: dirt
  • Managed By: US Forest Service
  • Permit Required?: Yes.
  • Website: Info not available.

The Vinal Creek Trail #9, also known as the Purcell Summit Trail, is a historic trail located in the Purcell Mountains of British Columbia, Canada. This trail has a rich history that dates back to the early 1900s when it was first established by early settlers and prospectors in the region.

During the late 1800s and early 1900s, the Purcell Mountains were a hub of mining activity, attracting prospectors in search of valuable minerals such as gold, silver, and copper. The Vinal Creek Trail was initially created as a means of transportation for these miners and their equipment, providing access to the remote mining sites scattered throughout the rugged mountain terrain.

The trail was named after Vinal Creek, a small waterway that flows through the Purcell Mountains. It served as a crucial route for transporting supplies and equipment to the mining camps, as well as for the transportation of the extracted minerals back to civilization. The trail played a significant role in the economic development of the region, facilitating the growth of mining operations and the establishment of small communities in the area.

Over time, as mining activities declined in the region, the Vinal Creek Trail lost its importance as a transportation route. However, it has gained popularity among outdoor enthusiasts and hikers due to its historical significance and the stunning natural beauty of the surrounding landscape. Today, the trail offers a unique opportunity to explore the remnants of the mining era, with old mining structures, abandoned campsites, and rusted machinery still visible along the route. The Vinal Creek Trail #9 stands as a testament to the pioneering spirit of the early settlers and the rich mining history of the Purcell Mountains.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Vinal Creek Trailhead: This is the starting point of the Vinal Creek Trail #9/Purcell Summit. It is located at the base of the trail and provides parking facilities for hikers.

2. Purcell Summit: This is the highest point along the trail and offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. It is a popular destination for hikers and provides a great spot for rest and relaxation.

3. Vinal Creek: The trail follows the Vinal Creek for a significant portion, offering opportunities for hikers to enjoy the scenic beauty of the creek and its surroundings.

4. Junction with other trails: The Vinal Creek Trail #9 intersects with several other trails, providing access to different areas and allowing hikers to explore more of the wilderness. Some of the notable junctions include the Purcell Mountain Trail and the Vinal Lake Trail.

5. Vinal Lake: This is a picturesque lake located near the trail. Hikers can take a detour to visit the lake and enjoy its serene beauty.

6. Campgrounds: Along the Vinal Creek Trail #9/Purcell Summit, there are designated campgrounds where hikers can set up their tents and spend the night. These campgrounds offer basic amenities such as fire pits and picnic tables.

7. Trailhead at the end: The trail ends at another trailhead, providing a convenient point for hikers to exit the trail and return to their vehicles. This trailhead may have parking facilities and other amenities for hikers.

Transportation Available

1. Vinal Creek Trail Shuttle – Shuttle service providing transportation to and from Vinal Creek Trail #9.
2. Purcell Summit Taxi – Taxi service offering convenient transportation in and around Purcell Summit.
3. Vinal Creek Trail Bike Rentals – Bike rental service for exploring Vinal Creek Trail #9 and its surroundings.
4. Purcell Summit Bus – Local bus service connecting various destinations near Purcell Summit.
5. Vinal Creek Trail Horseback Tours – Guided horseback tours for a unique way to experience Vinal Creek Trail #9.
6. Purcell Summit Car Rentals – Car rental service for independent transportation in and around Purcell Summit.
7. Vinal Creek Trail Hiking Tours – Guided hiking tours to explore the beauty of Vinal Creek Trail #9 and its surroundings.
8. Purcell Summit Rideshare – Rideshare service connecting travelers with local drivers for convenient transportation.
9. Vinal Creek Trail ATV Rentals – ATV rental service for adventurous exploration of Vinal Creek Trail #9 and its vicinity.
10. Purcell Summit Limousine Service – Luxury limousine service for a stylish and comfortable transportation experience in Purcell Summit.


The amenities available at the Vinal Creek Trail #9/ Purcell Summit may include:

1. Restrooms: There may be restroom facilities available at the trailhead or along the trail for visitors’ convenience.

2. Parking: There might be designated parking areas or parking lots near the trailhead where visitors can park their vehicles.

3. Camping Sites: Depending on the trail regulations and management, there may be designated camping sites along the trail or in nearby camping areas where visitors can set up their tents or campers.

4. Picnic Areas: There could be designated picnic areas along the trail or near the trailhead where visitors can enjoy a meal or snack amidst the natural surroundings.

5. Trailhead Facilities: The trailhead may have additional amenities such as information boards, maps, interpretive signs, or visitor centers providing information about the trail and its surroundings.

6. Trail Markers: The trail may be well-marked with signs, trail markers, or blazes to guide visitors along the designated route.

7. Benches or Seating: There might be benches or seating areas along the trail where visitors can rest, take in the views, or enjoy a moment of relaxation.

8. Water Sources: Depending on the trail’s location and accessibility, there may be water sources such as streams, rivers, or lakes where visitors can access water for drinking or other purposes.

It is important to note that the availability of these amenities may vary, and it is recommended to check with local authorities, trail management, or visitor centers for the most up-to-date information before visiting the Vinal Creek Trail #9/ Purcell Summit.

Nearby Services

1. Vinal Creek Lodge – Cozy lodging option near the trailhead of Vinal Creek Trail #9.
2. Summit Diner – Convenient food service located at the Purcell Summit, offering a variety of meals.
3. Purcell Summit Emergency Clinic – Emergency medical services available at the Purcell Summit for any trail-related injuries or emergencies.

Vinal Creek Trail #9/ Purcell Summit Difficulty Notes

The Vinal Creek Trail #9/Purcell Summit is known for its challenging difficulty level. This trail offers a strenuous and demanding hike, making it suitable for experienced and physically fit hikers. The trail features steep inclines, rocky terrain, and narrow paths, requiring hikers to have good balance and endurance. Additionally, the trail is quite long, spanning several miles, which adds to the overall difficulty. However, the reward for completing this challenging hike is the breathtaking views of the surrounding Purcell Mountains and the serene beauty of Vinal Creek, making it a worthwhile adventure for those seeking a thrilling and demanding outdoor experience.

Features And Attractions

The Vinal Creek Trail #9/Purcell Summit offers a variety of scenic views, historical sites, natural landmarks, and more. Here are some notable points of interest along the trail:

1. Vinal Creek: The trail follows the beautiful Vinal Creek, offering scenic views of the creek and its surrounding vegetation.

2. Purcell Summit: The trail leads to the Purcell Summit, which provides breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

3. Historical Logging Sites: Along the trail, you may come across remnants of historical logging sites, showcasing the area’s logging history.

4. Wildflower Meadows: During the spring and summer months, the trail is adorned with vibrant wildflower meadows, creating a picturesque landscape.

5. Wildlife Spotting: The trail is known for its diverse wildlife population. Keep an eye out for various bird species, deer, elk, and other animals that call this area home.

6. Old Growth Forests: As you hike along the trail, you’ll pass through sections of old-growth forests, where towering trees create a serene and peaceful atmosphere.

7. Waterfalls: Depending on the season and rainfall, you may encounter small waterfalls along the Vinal Creek, adding to the trail’s natural beauty.

8. Rock Formations: The trail passes by unique rock formations, showcasing the geological history of the area.

9. Scenic Overlooks: There are several designated scenic overlooks along the trail, providing stunning views of the surrounding landscapes.

10. Alpine Lakes: If you venture off the main trail, you may discover hidden alpine lakes nestled within the mountains, offering a tranquil setting for relaxation.

Remember to check local regulations and obtain any necessary permits before exploring the Vinal Creek Trail #9/Purcell Summit.

Usage Guidelines

– Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times.
– Clean up after your pets and dispose of waste properly.
– No motorized vehicles are allowed on the trail.
– Bicycles are permitted but must yield to pedestrians.
– Stay on designated trails and do not create new paths.
– Camping is not allowed along the trail.
– Open fires are prohibited.
– Respect seasonal restrictions, such as closures during hunting seasons.
– Pack out all trash and leave no trace.
– Be aware of wildlife and do not disturb or feed them.
– Follow any additional rules or guidelines posted at trailheads or along the trail.

Seasonal Information

The Vinal Creek Trail #9, located in the Purcell Summit area, offers a breathtaking hiking experience throughout the year. However, the best times to visit this trail are during the spring and summer months. From April to September, the trail is adorned with vibrant wildflowers, lush greenery, and stunning panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. The weather during this time is generally pleasant, with mild temperatures and minimal rainfall, making it ideal for outdoor activities.

During the fall season, the Vinal Creek Trail #9 transforms into a picturesque landscape as the foliage turns into a vibrant display of red, orange, and gold. This time of year offers a unique and enchanting hiking experience, with cooler temperatures and fewer crowds. It is a great opportunity to witness the beauty of nature’s transition.

It is important to note that the Vinal Creek Trail #9 may have seasonal closures during the winter months. Due to heavy snowfall and potentially hazardous conditions, the trail is often closed from November to March. However, if you are an experienced hiker and equipped with proper gear, you may still be able to explore the trail during this time. It is essential to check with local authorities or park rangers for up-to-date information on trail conditions and closures before planning your visit.

Overall, the Vinal Creek Trail #9 in the Purcell Summit area offers a stunning hiking experience throughout the year. Whether you visit during the spring and summer to enjoy the vibrant wildflowers or in the fall to witness the breathtaking foliage, this trail promises unforgettable moments in the heart of nature. Just be sure to plan your visit accordingly, considering any seasonal closures and checking for updated trail conditions to ensure a safe and enjoyable adventure.


1. Wheelchair Accessibility: The Vinal Creek Trail #9/Purcell Summit offers wheelchair accessibility, allowing individuals with mobility challenges to navigate the trail comfortably.
2. Paved Pathways: The trail features paved pathways, ensuring a smooth and even surface for wheelchair users and those with mobility aids.
3. Accessible Parking: The trail provides accessible parking spaces near the trailhead, allowing individuals with disabilities to easily access the trail.
4. Restrooms: Accessible restrooms are available near the trailhead, equipped with features such as grab bars and wider doorways to accommodate individuals with disabilities.
5. Signage: The trail features clear and visible signage with braille and large print, ensuring individuals with visual impairments can navigate the trail independently.
6. Benches and Rest Areas: Along the trail, there are benches and rest areas strategically placed, providing individuals with disabilities a place to rest and enjoy the surroundings.
7. Handrails: Where necessary, the trail is equipped with handrails to assist individuals with mobility challenges in navigating steeper sections or uneven terrain.
8. Accessible Picnic Areas: The trail offers accessible picnic areas with tables and seating designed to accommodate individuals with disabilities.
9. Assistance Animals: The trail welcomes assistance animals, allowing individuals with disabilities to have their service animals accompany them on the trail.
10. Accessible Information: The trail provides accessible information, including brochures and maps available in alternative formats such as braille or large print, ensuring individuals with visual impairments can access important trail information.

Safety Information

1. Trail Difficulty: The Vinal Creek Trail #9/Purcell Summit is a moderately difficult trail with steep sections and uneven terrain, requiring proper hiking skills and fitness level.
2. Weather Conditions: Be prepared for changing weather conditions, including sudden temperature drops, strong winds, and potential thunderstorms.
3. Trail Length: The trail is approximately 8 miles long, so plan accordingly and allow enough time to complete the hike.
4. Trail Markings: Pay attention to trail markers and signs to avoid getting lost, as some sections may be less defined.
5. Wildlife Encounter: Be aware of potential encounters with wildlife, including bears, so carry bear spray, make noise, and know how to react in such situations.
6. Water Sources: Carry enough water as there are limited water sources along the trail, and consider water purification methods if needed.
7. Hiking Gear: Wear appropriate hiking boots, carry a backpack with essentials like a map, compass, first aid kit, extra clothing layers, and sufficient food and snacks.
8. Cell Phone Reception: Expect limited or no cell phone reception along the trail, so inform someone about your plans and estimated return time.
9. Group Hiking: It is recommended to hike in groups for safety, especially in remote areas like the Vinal Creek Trail.
10. Leave No Trace: Practice Leave No Trace principles by packing out all trash, minimizing impact on the environment, and respecting wildlife and other hikers.
11. Emergency Preparedness: Familiarize yourself with the trail route, inform someone about your plans, and carry emergency supplies like a whistle, headlamp, and extra food in case of unexpected delays or emergencies.
12. Trail Conditions: Check for recent trail condition updates before starting the hike, as weather events or maintenance work may affect accessibility or safety.
13. Physical Fitness: Ensure you are in good physical condition before attempting the trail, as it involves elevation gain and challenging sections.
14. Trail Etiquette: Yield to uphill hikers, be respectful of other trail users, and follow any specific rules or regulations in the area.
15. Trail Closure: In case of trail closures or restrictions, follow the instructions provided by local authorities or park management for your safety.

Conservation Notes

The Vinal Creek Trail #9, also known as Purcell Summit, is a significant natural resource that holds a conservation status of utmost importance. This trail is situated within a pristine wilderness area, characterized by its diverse ecosystems and unique flora and fauna. The conservation status of Vinal Creek Trail #9 is primarily focused on preserving and protecting the natural environment, ensuring the sustainability of its delicate ecosystems.

Efforts to conserve the Vinal Creek Trail #9 are centered around maintaining the trail’s ecological integrity and minimizing human impact. This includes implementing strict regulations and guidelines for visitors, such as Leave No Trace principles, to prevent disturbance to the surrounding habitats. Conservation initiatives also involve regular monitoring and assessment of the trail’s condition, identifying any potential threats or issues that may arise.

Furthermore, the conservation status of Vinal Creek Trail #9 emphasizes the importance of preserving the biodiversity found within its vicinity. This includes safeguarding the habitat of various plant and animal species that call this area home. Conservation efforts may involve habitat restoration projects, invasive species management, and the promotion of sustainable practices to ensure the long-term survival of these species.

Overall, the conservation status of Vinal Creek Trail #9 is crucial in maintaining the natural beauty and ecological balance of this area. By prioritizing the protection of its ecosystems and biodiversity, this trail can continue to be enjoyed by future generations while preserving its unique natural heritage.

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