Selway- Bitterroot Wilderness #2: Big Creek

Bryan Harwood

Mar 24, 2016

On this 3 day backpacking trip into the SBW, me and my girlfriend Erin, hiked up the infamous Big Creek to Big Lake on March 12- 15. A wonderous 18 mile round trip, this trail takes you up another one of the majestic and rugged Bitterroot Canyons of the Montana side of the wilderness. This canyon is particularly special due to its presence of incredible old growth virgin stands of Grand Fir and Ceder that stand anciently deep within the canyon. Once the trail meandors its way to the Big Creek Cirque, we approached heavy snow which once again required snow shoes. Several large peaks can be accessed from this canyon such as Ranger Peak and Sky Pilot. An amazing campsite exists in here called Tipi Rock. This is by far the greatest campsite in the Northern Bitterroot, especially when the Mid- March rain pours down. It is an overhanging big rock that has enough space for people, gear, and a great fire ring. It has views of the 2000' cliffs on the north and south sides of the canyon walls. Highly recommended trip if you are new to the area.


Erin on the trail with some remaining winter ice on the rocks


Mile 7 you start emerging from the deep forests of the canyon below and witness thousands of feet of glorious granite cliffs!


Large granite Moraine as seen from the ascent to the lake basin and main cirque


Me standing on the frozen Big Lake at the very back of the canyon


View looking deep into the cirque toward Packbox Pass


This is a closeup profile of the coveted Ranger Peak


frozen lakeshore with a sweet view

Erin and Me enjoying the sunshine


Looking down into the canyon from the brink of the waterfall


The water is beginning to show itself


Our campfire at Tipi Rock, its raining outside


Hanging out with the Ceders deep on the canyon floor


Ancient Grand Fir forest as well :) Mystical

We like to pose for funny pictures! Gives you an idea how big these fir trees are.


Big Trees in Big Creek


Lush Creek with ceders.

Beautiful color contrasts in here.

The Selway- Bitterroot Wilderness is an Extremely special place here on our wonderful planet. It should be appreciated and protected forever. If you ever get a chance to see it, make it a priority!


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Dec 11, 2015
Bryan, you are making me homesick for the Bitterroots. Great photos! Looking forward to more of your reports.

I am missing the moraine in photo 4, though.
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