Despite the length of the trail, the journey up Vinal Creek Trail #9/Purcell Summit starts on an easy note. The first three and a half miles are very mild. The trail runs parallel to the creek here, and is mostly flat. If you're looking for a taste of adventure without going too far, following the flat portion of the trail will make for an approximate seven miles round trip.
After the first three and a half miles, the trail starts to pick up. You'll tilt back and start heading for the top of Mount Henry! The trail gets tougher the further you climb onto the mountain. It will be worth it in the end, when you can look down on the valley for a view unmatched anywhere else in the area. There are regular switchbacks. It may be tempting to stray off the trail and shorten up your 25 mile hike, but resist! The trail is hard packed soil. It's easy to follow and easy to walk on. Once you step off the path, you'll have to contend with much less even footing. The risk of injury increases, so stick to the path.
Your dog should stay on leash throughout the hike. There's plenty to sniff along the sides of the path, so don't worry that your pup won't enjoy the experience! Help preserve the gorgeous Montana landscape by keeping your dog at your side.
If you're looking to go the distance, Vinal Creek Trail #9/Purcell Summit can put you and your dog to the test!