For a fun, yet slightly challenging hike in the wilderness of western Montana, look no further than the Skookum Butte Trail! Located in the expansive Lolo National Forest near the Montana-Idaho border, this trail is best suited for adventurous and athletic doggos who are used to tackling uneven terrain. While it is only 1.3 miles one way, it features steep switchbacks to the summit that couch potato pups will want to steer clear of.
Skookum Butte may not exactly be a walk in the park, but the puptacular views at the top are well worth the effort. The trail begins at an old jeep road without any amenities and travels through a marshy field before winding upward. You and Fido will then be taken across an old spur logging road and through dense sub-alpine fir and spruce forest. As you approach the summit, you will see the rocky outcrop peeking through the trees. Climb up the large granite boulders to check out the scenery and old lookout cabin at the top.
Listed on the National Historic Lookout Register, the Skookum Butte Lookout is an old L-5 log and frame ground house that used to function as a fire lookout. Built in 1928, it is one of the last of its kind remaining in Montana and northern Idaho. You may go inside to take a look, but beware of broken glass and nails. From the summit, you and Fido can enjoy woofderful panoramic views of both Montana and Idaho, including the northeast section of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness.
Since this is an out-and-back trail, you'll need to go back the way you came once you're done admiring the scenery. Bring snacks and water to refuel at the summit, and always pick up after your four-legged pal so that everyone can have a furrific time on the Skookum Butte Trail!
This trail meanders through bear and moose country. Stay alert and bring bear spray!