Thursday, July 21, 2016

Alice Creek traverse

Karyn Good surveys the landscape from the CDT Trail with Red Mountain in the background

They know how to pile a cairn on the CDT

In the expansive Alice Basin below Lewis and Clark Pass
A lovely 7 mile traverse of the Alice Creek Basin, both on and off trail with a link to the Continental Divide Trail and historic Lewis and Clark Pass.
The trip began at the Alice Creek Trailhead, about 10 miles north from the Montana 200 turnoff outside Lincoln.
It followed an established trail for about a quarter mile where it joins a ridge heading straight for the Continental Divide Trail, on an abandoned Forest Service Trail.  That abandoned trail is still very easy to follow, although there are some deadfalls across it.
We found albino Paintbrush amidst the other colorful flowers
Once on top we walked east along the CDT to Red Mountain (elevation: 7,277 feet), which we easily climbed and got terrific views of the Alice Creek Valley, the Scapegoat Wilderness, and the CDT back to the other Red Mountain (elevation: 9,411 feet).  The ridge line is broken up by large, sandstone cliffs.
We took a short side trip to find the East Fork Falls Creek Trail that leads to the Dearborn through the Falls Creek Roadless Area.  The trail intersects with the CDT but is unmarked and easy to miss. I was interested because Falls Creek is closed from the Dearborn and this is a logical way in and out.
Then it was down through timber and grass to the Lewis and Clark Pass, where the Corps of Discovery passed through on its way back from the West Coast.  It is marked with historical signs.
It is open from the pass down to the car, traveling down the flank of Green Mountain and offering great views of the Alice Creek Basin and CDT country above it.
Some 2,200 feet was gained and lost along the way.
The wildflowers, particularly the Indian Paintbrush, were profuse.

For topo map and other photos:  CLICK HERE

At the pass

Jim Heckel at the top of the ridge nearing the CDT

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