Furry trailblazers looking to challenge their hiking skills will love Baldy Lookout-Lake Trail, about 15 miles outside of Plains, Montana. This hardcore 3.2-mile trail is not for the faint of heart, with steep inclines that take you 5,000 feet above the valley. The strenuous climb gives way to breathtaking panoramic views that allow you to see as far as 30 miles in every direction. The lower half of the trail is a different experience entirely, offering packs a leisurely, mostly flat walk along natural surfaces through the old growth forest.
Your walk will start at the western trailhead at the end of Forest Road 886, where you will almost immediately begin your ascent eastward up the rocky slope of Mount Baldy. At the peak, you will see stunning birds-eye views of the magnificent Rocky Mountains and Montana wilderness. Here, your pack will also find the crumbling remains of an old lookout tower. Take a break to give those paws a rest and have a snack before descending to the lower half of the trail. You've earned it! It's all downhill from there as the path winds down the mount to beautiful Baldy Lake. Your pack will find this portion to be very refreshing after the difficulty of the first half.
Make sure you come prepared for this trail with plenty of provisions for your furry family. The Rockies are known to have very unpredictable weather patterns -- pack a warm jacket and a change of clothes in case you get caught in a storm. This trail isn't as pawpular as other nearby trails because of the level of skill required. The lack of crowds will only enhance the adventure, though! The hike will certainly be a challenge, but the sense of accomplishment your pack will have from completing this tedious trek will have them convinced they are part Burmese Mountain Dog!