October 18, 2017

Exploring the Ross Creek Cedars, Bull Lake, and Kootenai Falls, Libby, Montana

Exploring the Ross Creek Cedars, Libby, Montana, Montana Vacation Blog 2015

The Ross Creek Cedars are a gem of western red cedars found not far from the small town of Libby in northwest Montana. The best way to see them is if you are driving between Spokane, WA, or Sandpoint, ID, on your way to Montana. Some of the trees are said to be more than 400 years old!

My family visited the Ross Creek Cedars quite a bit when I was a kid, but I had not been back out there in years. We finally took our kids out a week ago. Seeing as it is November, it was cold, but the sun was shining and we had a great day. 

This is quite the haul with kids for the day from Kalispell or Whitefish, and if you have kids that dislike the car as much as mine, the drive can be daunting. I was worried that there may not be enough to do there — but I was pleasantly surprised. My kids LOVED the trees, exploring the trails, and they are only 1 and 3 years old! So definitely take your kids here!

Children exploring the Ross Creek Cedars, Libby, Montana, Montana Vacation Blog 2015

There is a trail that says it is just under a mile loop to take you through these amazing trees. I never did find a loop; the trail is easy to follow for awhile, but after a bit the trail tapers off and just becomes several trails around the giant trees. We turned to try to follow what we thought was the loop, but the trail pretty much ended on us and we had to cross some questionable logs to get back. There is a large bridge and picnic tables on one side near the parking lot and there are restrooms.

The bridge at Ross Creek Cedars, Libby, Montana, Montana Vacation Blog 2015

The day we visited the LIGHT was INCREDIBLE. I felt like we were in a magical forest. Needless to say I took endless photos of the light that day, streaming through the trees, into what otherwise may have been a dark forest.

Incredible light at Ross Creek Cedars, Libby, Montana, Montana Vacation Blog 2015Neill family walking through the Ross Creek Cedars on a beautiful light-filled day in the trees, Libby, Montana, Montana Vacation Blog 2015Scroll to the bottom for more photos….

The trail also follows along a creek with bridges that just adds to the romantic feeling that this forest provides.

Exploring the bridges at Ross Creek Cedars, Libby, Montana, Montana Vacation Blog 2015 Neill family crossing the bridge at Ross Creek Cedars in their Made of Mountains sweatshirt, Montana Vacation Blog, Libby, Montana 2015

One amazing thing is that several of the trees are so large and are hollow inside, so you are able to climb into the tree and look up into it.

Exploring the Ross Creek Cedars, Libby, Montana, Montana Vacation Blog 2015 Looking up from inside of a tree at Ross Creek Cedars, near Libby, Montana, Montana Vacation Blog 2015

This area is unbelievably gorgeous, with the peaks of the Cabinet Mountain Wilderness just beyond Bull Lake. There is a nice overlook right on the road with views of the surrounding mountains.

Driving toward the Ross Creek Cedars near Libby, Montana, Montana Vacation Blog 2015 Alex Neill overlooking the Cabinet Mountain Wilderness near Libby, Montana, Montana Vacation Blog 2015 Alex Neill overlooking the Cabinet Mountain Wilderness near Libby, Montana, Montana Vacation Blog 2015

 

To get here: Drive Highway 2 past Libby, until you see the turn left (south) onto Highway 56. There was no sign pointing that this was the turn to Bull Lake or the Ross Creek Cedars, but this is the turn you need to take. Note that this turn is before the town of Troy, so if you reach Troy, you know you missed the turn. You will drive south on Highway 56 for several miles until finally you will see Bull Lake on your right. The highway takes you around the lake, and then you will turn right at the southern end of the lake onto Highway 398. This turn takes you to the Ross Creek Cedars and the Bad Medicine Campground. Once you are on Highway 398, you will see the sign showing you where to turn left to reach the Ross Creek Cedars.

Tip: If you keep driving down to the Bad Medicine Campground, you will find a nice boat dock with pretty views of the mountains and a nice place to swim.

The Neill family at Bull Lake, Montana Vacation Blog, Libby, Montana 2015Conveniently, the stop at Kootenai Falls to see the waterfall and swinging bridge is just before you turn onto Highway 56. The day we visited, my kids had fallen asleep in the car, so I didn’t stop and take them down. Instead I went down by myself to check it out. It is beautiful scenery on the Kootenai River, just be aware that it is actually quite a walk to get down. You have to follow the trail down until you use a bridge to cross the train tracks, and then you get back on the trail again.

Hiking down to Kootenai Falls, The Bridge crossing the train tracks, Libby, Montana, Montana Vacation Blog 2015

The trail splits off after that, you go left to visit the swinging bridge, or turn right to visit the falls. At the split off point for the two, there is still a ways walking to each one. But if you have the time, I highly recommend stopping here! 

Kootenai Falls swinging bridge, Libby, Montana, Montana Vacation Blog 2015Kootenai Falls, Kootenai River, Libby, Montana, Montana Vacation Blog 2015

 

 

Kootenai Falls, Kootenai River, Libby, Montana, Montana Vacation Blog 2015

Don’t miss this gorgeous spot in Montana! Make a day of it and spend your time exploring the Ross Creek Cedars, and stop to eat in nearby Libby on your way through.

Warm Wishes from Big Sky Country,

Alex M. Neill

Montana Vacation Blog

http://www.montanavacationblog.com/

Exploring the Ross Creek Cedars, Libby, Montana, Montana Vacation Blog 2015 Exploring the Ross Creek Cedars, Libby, Montana, Montana Vacation Blog 2015 Exploring the Ross Creek Cedars, Libby, Montana, Montana Vacation Blog 2015 Exploring the Ross Creek Cedars, Libby, Montana, Montana Vacation Blog 2015 Alex Neill at the Ross Creek Cedars, Libby, Montana, Montana Vacation Blog 2015 Large Trees at Ross Creek Cedars, Libby, Montana, Montana Vacation Blog 2015 Child exploring the Ross Creek Cedars, Libby, Montana, Montana Vacation Blog 2015 Neill family girls swinging in their Kammok at Ross Creek Cedars, near Libby, Montana, Montana Vacation Blog 2015 Children in awe at the Ross Creek Cedars, near Libby, Montana, Montana Vacation Blog 2015

Related Posts

DISCLAIMER: Information provided herein is personal opinion only. The information on this blog is published for general educational and news reporting purposes only and should not be construed as, and is not intended to be a substitute for personalized legal or medical advice, or any other kind of advice. Please consult a particular professional for particular questions.

©2013 Montana Vacation Blog. All rights reserved. Website by FW.