The Blacktail Hills hike is an excellent early season outing. The distance and total vertical are minimal — about 6 miles gaining less than 2000 feet. Although there is a highpoint, that's not the objective. The purpose is to have a relaxed day in a unique part of Glacier, meandering from hilltop to hilltop while enjoying the scenery and the wildflowers, especially the bitterroot, the state flower of Montana.
On the previous trips I've coordinated in the area, we've started from Marias Pass to intersect the Autumn Creek trail. Occasionally there has been a train parked on a siding at the pass, blocking access to the trail which posed a bit of a problem. This year I decided to start from the west end of Autumn Creek to avoid the train issue and view some different terrain. I prefer that approach to the hills, although the trail is a bit overgrown, resulting in pants and boots getting soaked when wading through the dewy vegetation. Regardless of approach from east or west, you head off-trail at the same spot.
The cooler, wetter weather this spring and early summer was a mixed blessing — lush greenery but also a bumper crop of mosquitoes. Although a bit early for the
maximum bloom, we still found many dazzling bitterroot blossoms with more soon on the way. By mid-afternoon, with storm clouds approaching, we dropped
down the steep vegetated slopes to the cars we had parked at Skyland road to enjoy refreshments. Early season trekking in the Blacktail Hills has always been
very rewarding. This year was no exception.
Have some photos from this event that you'd like to share in our photo album? Please forward them to Tim Anderson at email@example.com. Please note that we prefer to receive the photos in approximately 640x480 or 750x500 pixels - do NOT send original high-res photos. If you have a LOT of photos, please submit up to twenty of your favorites (only) for a day event, or up to forty of your favourites for a multi-day event. Thank you.
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