Montana's Bitterroot Mountains: Big Creek Lakes and Ranger Point


Onward and upward
Aug 20, 2016
A couple weekends ago, my brother and I, as well as our two dogs, set out for a two day, two night excursion into one of the more popular drainages of the Bitterroots. After getting off work Friday night, we hustled down to the trailhead, knowing of a good campsite we had stayed at previously five miles in. It was perfect temps and relatively flat, so we got to the spot known as Teepee Rock in two hours, to give us a head start for tomorrow's bigger day. The next morning, we ventured up the next four miles up to the Big Creek Lakes, gaining in elevation. Once at the lake, we began our off trail adventure. Starting with an incredibly thick and steep bushwhack, we got up onto the ridge of a cirque that sits above the lake. We dropped our packs, and continued on the Ridgeline on our way up to Ranger Point, which sits right on the Montana/Idaho borderline. After a valiant effort of skirting steep snowfields and scree, we decided to turn around approx. 300 feet from the top, the terrain looking a bit too questionable to attempt with dogs. Back down at camp, a crystal clear stream flowed into a cascade down towards the lake below us, a perfect place to allow the legs to recover. By sunset, the view of the lake and surrounding peaks was fantastic. The only drawback, the relentless mosquitoes. But that's July in the backcountry for ya. I was slightly bummed we weren't able to bag Ranger Point, but that bushwhack has me doubting I'll ever attempt it again.

Caltopo Map (mind the red and orange lines, the other lines are a future planned trip):

Click here to view on CalTopo
A short film I made of the trip:

Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
misSOULa Montana's Bitterroot Mountains: Gem lake and Trapper Peak Backpacking 1
misSOULa Montana's Bitterroot Mountains: Bass Creek Backpacking 1
GarrettM Attempted Summit of El Capitan - Montana, Bitterroot National Forrest Backpacking 7
D New guy from Montana Noobs: Introduce yourself! 2
NorthwestWanderer Walking the top of Montana's CHINESE WALL | A Bob Marshall Trek Backpacking 14
John Goering Pioneer Mountains, Montana <50" UTV trip Off Road 3
Jackson Quick day hike in the Montana Absarokas Hiking & Camping 13
Absarokanaut Flooding in Yellowstone National Park and Adjacent Areas of Montana Today June 13, 2022 General Discussion 82
NorthwestWanderer Montana Fall Colors Timelapse Film General Discussion 0
Mountain Wanderer Four Lakes Basin in the Southern Cabinet Mountains - Montana Backpacking 12
Jamesoutside life Looking for backpacking buddy montana aug/sept Noobs: Introduce yourself! 0
IlVagabondo Montana Smoke General Discussion 14
J Off-Trail Routes in Montana or ID Trip Planning 10
NorthwestWanderer NORTHWEST | 4K Timelapse Film : Featuring Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming & Montana General Discussion 4
Mountain Wanderer Cedar Lakes Loop in Montana's Cabinet Mountains Wilderness Backpacking 4
Mikjik86 Backpacking Glacier National Park (Part 2 Preview) "North Circle Route" Montana, August 2019 Backpacking 2
Mountain Wanderer Heart Lake, Montana Backpacking 6
Brian Handsaker Uintas Backpacking (or Montana) Trip Planning 9
misSOULa Montana's Pintler Wilderness: Goat Flat and Mount Tiny Backpacking 6
Kootenai Hello, from Montana Noobs: Introduce yourself! 3
misSOULa Backpacking Montana, Swan Range- Pyramid lake Backpacking 4
Kishenehn Montana mountains ... Noobs: Introduce yourself! 16
DrNed Floating Smith River in Montana Trip Planning 55
Bryan Harwood Backpacker/ Trails Worker from Montana Noobs: Introduce yourself! 6
MikeM Noob in Montana Noobs: Introduce yourself! 9
ogg Montana de Oro State Park, CA, 8-15 Backpacking 6
John Goering North Fork Indian Creek, Tobacco Root Mountains, Montana Backpacking 4
John Goering Greetings from SW Montana Noobs: Introduce yourself! 5
AustinCronnelly Floating the Smith River, Montana On The Water 13
Tyler Glacier National Park and Missoula, Montana May 2006 Hiking & Camping 5
Nick A Week in Montana General Discussion 7
MikeM El Capitan, Bitterroot Mountains, MT 08.19.2018 Hiking & Camping 11
Bryan Harwood Blodgett Canyon: The Bitterroot Masterpiece Backpacking 6
Bryan Harwood Bitterroot Summit Hike #3: Gash Point Hiking & Camping 0
Bryan Harwood Selway- Bitterroot Wilderness #3: Bass Creek Backpacking 2
Bryan Harwood Bitterroot Summit Hike #2: Mt. Ward Hiking & Camping 5
Bryan Harwood Selway- Bitterroot Wilderness #2: Big Creek Backpacking 2
Bryan Harwood Bitterroot Summit: Sweeney Peak 04-02-16 Hiking & Camping 0
Bryan Harwood Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness Backpacking 4
Bob Sawtooth Mountains ........... Get ready for summer Backpacking 2
BobFink Goschute Mountains, NV , Pisgah Peak, Hawk Watch Migration Site Everything Else 2
westy San Juan mountains, Colorado Hiking & Camping 8
M Backpacking 50 miles in the Uinta Mountains for 5 days with ~50 pound pack Backpacking 4
kansas good place to watch sunrise in the La Sal mountains Trip Planning 0
NorthwestWanderer First time in the High Uintas | Red Castle SNEAK Loop | I give these mountains 5 out of 5 stars Backpacking 7
westy Wallowa Mountains, Oregon Trip Planning 3
Kerrie at Thru We Go Packraft Trip in the Sierra Nevada Mountains Trip Reports 3
John Goering Boulder Lakes, Tobacco Root Mountains Off Road 0
John Goering Tobacco Root Mountains South Meadow Creek Off Road 1
C Utah Mountains in Late May Trip Planning 12

Similar threads