Whether you and Fido want a pleasant day hike in the mountains, or an overnight backcountry adventure, the Trout Creek Loop is for you! This moderately-used 22.2-mile National Recreation Trail makes a scenic loop through more than 20,000 acres of untouched public land in Montana’s Kootenai National Forest. That’s right, you and your pup won’t run into any roads on this trek. Just fresh mountain air and pristine views.
Getting to the Trout Creek Loop trailhead can be a little tricky. The road, FSR 214, is a rough ride and only accessible by high clearance vehicles. If you don’t have a high clearance vehicle, no problem! Park at the nearby Black Peak trailhead at the junction of Hope Valley Road and Trout Creek Road and hike down the road to the Trout Creek Loop trailhead. It’ll be a pleasant warm up walk for you and your pooch!
Trout Creek Loop winds along the Montana-Idaho border and the clear, snow-fed waters of three branches of Trout Creek. You and your pup will be in awe as you trek through high alpine meadows covered in blankets of wildflowers and grasses in warmer months. The views of Bloom Peak and Ninety-Three Mile Lake are breathtaking, too. Even in summer, there may be patches of snow on the ground.
Primitive camping is allowed on Trout Creek Loop. There are established campsites at the trailhead, and dispersed camping is permitted on the trail, so long as you employ Pack-In-Pack-Out and Leave-No-Trace ethics, and proper food storage practices as there are both black and grizzly bears in the area.
In the Kootenai National Forest, dogs are required to be leashed while in developed recreation areas, like trailheads, picnic areas and developed campgrounds. After you and your pup are on the trail, however, you can unclip the leash.
Whether it’s a short stretch of this trail, or a multi-day adventure, the Trout Creek Loop is a spectacular place to hike with your dog!