Paradise in the mountains

Last week I mentioned that someone advised me to pay attention to State Parks, even when they are in the neighborhood of more famous big-name National Parks.

John Muir on Scuppernongs

September 24. Spent this day with Mr. Prater sailing on the Chattahoochee, feasting on grapes that had dropped from the overhanging vines. This remarkable species of wild grape has a stout stem, sometimes five or six inches in diameter, smooth bark and hard wood, quite unlike any other wild or cultivated grapevine that I have seen.…

Hidden in a high mountain valley at about 6200 feet elevation northwest of Butte, surrounded by 3000 foot cliffs of gray limestone and pink granite and shaded by trembling aspens and Douglas fir, there is an idyllic little babbling brook as pretty as any I’ve ever seen. And I’m not the only person who thinks so. Informative signage indicates that for hundreds of years, Native Americans have used the area as a setting for vision quests and other spiritual gatherings.

500-acre Lost Creek State Park just outside of Anaconda Montana (older locals pronounce it “And-uh-conda”) is a perfect place for a day trip or a camping trip.

Lost Creek is a tributary to the Clark’s Fork river and is home to home to brook trout and brown trout and the fly fishermen who seek them. Also commonly seen at Lost Creek include bighorn sheep, golden eagles, and pika (sort of a rat-sized rabbit).

The park offers 25 campsites on a first-come basis, but RV length is restricted to less than 23 feet. The road is more well-maintained and easier on your vehicle than several scenic areas and State Parks that we’ve been to (more on that in next week’s article.) There is a Forest Service walking trail that winds its way through mountain meadows providing ample birdwatching and other wildlife viewing.

But the main draw by far for Lost Creek State Park is the 50-foot waterfall at the farthest extent of the park road. There is a parking area just a couple hundred feet from the waterfall and it is surrounded by shady picnic areas.

It is certainly nothing that will replace Glacier National Park or Yellowstone, but if you are in the area, perhaps driving from one of Montana’s National Parks to the other, Lost Creek State Park makes for a wonderful side trek or overnight camping spot pretty close to halfway between the two National Parks.

Categories: Nature, Travel

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