Cedar Lakes Loop in Montana's Cabinet Mountains Wilderness

Jan 9, 2018
We started on this route on a Monday and so we were not expecting to see anyone....

That all changed at the trailhead when we saw a couple campers and a day hiker. That's just the way it has been this year.

Jessie from the YouTube Channel HYOY-WU invited me on this trip through the Cabinet Mountains. This route was just outside of Libby, Montana and not one that I have done before.

We followed Flower Creek up on the first day. Our goal was to get up to Sky Lakes and camp for the night. The trail was in great shape and gently climbed up through the forest towards the Cabinet Divide. As it turns out, the campers were also going to Sky Lakes and had already claimed the best campsite. We bushwhacked a bit and found a decent site back in the trees a bit. It was a little hike to the lake, but not too bad.

The next day we pulled out of Sky Lakes and back tracked down to where we had left the main trail the day before. Then we started the real climb up to the Cabinet Divide. It was uphill all of the way, but the grade was good. I purposely didn't fill my water all of the way up when we left camp because I saw on the map were we would intersect a stream a lot farther up the trail. Lucky for me, there was still water coming out of the mountain there because there was no more water for the next 8-9 miles.

We finally trudged up the rest of the climb and made it to the divide. The views were incredible! It's amazing how much some hills can change when you look at them from a new vantage point! From there it would be a ridge walk across the North Cabinet Divide over to Upper Cedar Lake. As with all ridges, even though you're on top, the climbing is not over. We went up and down on our way over. Finally we crested a little rise and were presented with a stunning view of the Cedar Lakes. From there we wound our way around the mountain and over towards the lake. It was a really long decent.

We camped on the shoreline with an incredible view of the lake.

The next day I left the rest of the group and took a different way back. They had a car staged at the bottom of the drainage they were in and I had to get back to my car at the Flower Creek trailhead.

I climbed up a small hill and dropped in to the Parmenter Creek drainage. This section was really steep. Definitely the steepest trail that we had done the entire trip. After descending a few hundred feet, I was back in the forest. Once down by the creek, the grade flattened out a bit and I was able to make some time. I had to take a connecting trail to get back to Flower Creek. This trail climbed the whole way and after 8 miles of descending... I was wore out. I had never been so happy to see my car.

I had to get back to my house because I had to resupply to go out the very next day into the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness. But that is another story....

Thanks for watching!!

Amazing scenery. I love the verticality of some of those spots. Thanks for sharing!
Another great video and trip. I also like the little details, like the instant up hammock and Jason mask.
Another great video and trip. I also like the little details, like the instant up hammock and Jason mask.

I can't take credit for the hockey mask, Jessie brought it and put it in the tree, so naturally I had to get a picture. Thanks for checking it out!