Hiking Rock Creek
Welcome Creek Wilderness and More
Rock Creek offers great hiking opportunities along its 50 mile length. Located just 21 miles East of Missoula, Montana, Rock Creek is a great location for a day hike. Hiking trails range from easy, level ground to steep mountainous terrain. Here are a few examples.
Valley of the Moon – Rock Creek Nature Trail
Near the 2 mile marker on Rock Creek Road, you’ll find the Valley of the Moon fishing access. Pull into the area and the nature path begins near the parking area. Boardwalks, level paths and trail side benches make this 0.5 mile double loop trail a nice walk with incredible scenery.
Trail 10 to Babcock Mountain
Just a short distance from the Valley of the Moon Fishing Access is Trail 10. Park in the turn out near the river. As you face the mountain slope, the steep trail begins as a narrow foot path and heads up. It is very steep for the first bit but then the grade lessens are you switch back and forth ascending the mountain. The trail is a little more than 3 miles long. Go just a little past the trail’s end and you’ll find a gravel road for more photo opportunities. This hike features breathtaking scenery of the valley, fields of spring flowers and views of Lolo Peak and the distant Mission Mountains. Good hiking shoes, water and a camera are essentials.
Grizzly Creek Trail
Grizzly Creek is a personal favorite. Starting at the buck fence on Ranch Creek Road, this three mile long (one way) hike travels up Grizzly Creek Canyon crossing the small creek several times before becoming a true uphill climb between Sliderock Mountain and Spink Point. Turn back at trails end or continue up the mountain to dirt roads that link to old mines.
Welcome Creek Trail
Perhaps the most popular hike on Rock Creek, Access the Welcome Creek Trailhead into the Welcome Creek Wilderness near mile marker 14 on Rock Creek Road. The trail begins at the swing bridge over the river. Take a right after crossing the bridge. You’ll go a short ways and will come to Welcome Creek. Cross the small log bridge and follow the trail left up the drainage. The trail crosses another log bridge and shortly thereafter is Cinnabar Cabin and Cinnabar Creek. This is a turn around point. Or continue another five miles to Cleveland Mountain and the Bitterroot Divide.