Monture Creek flows South out of the Scapegoat Wilderness and flows into the Blackfoot River. Unlike many mountain creeks, this waterway loses elevation slowly so the valley is long and deep. This makes the trail along the valley floor prime for easy an easy day out-and-back run.
The first mile or so of trail is on an old logging road that cuts a straight swath along the base of the East side of the valley. Eventually the trail narrows and become more engaging with occasional need to watch your footing. During the spring a myriad of creeks and trickles flow under and across the trail from unseen peaks above. The first few miles are vibrant green.
Not long after the trail narrows the path enters the charred remains from the 2017 Rice Ridge fire. Undergrowth is starting to re-emerge from the ground and the green against the blackened remnants of trees is jarringly beautiful. Although the absence of a crown layer makes for hot days in the summer, in the spring it means that sight lines are more open. Now you can see more of the rock formations, meandering streams, and wildlife.
Eight and half miles in, at the junction of the Limestone Pass Trail is Burnt Cabin. This is a Forest Service maintained cabin and a good turnaround point for a medium long run day.
Details from the trailhead to Burnt Cabin:
- Distance: 17.2 mile roundtrip
- Elevation: 1,342′ of climbing
- Water: water sources are plentiful with access to the creek, and streams crossing the trail in spring.
- Surface: Single-track trail
- Getting there: From Missoula drive East on Hwy 200. 12.5 miles after Clearwater Junction turn left (North) on Monture Road. Drive 7.5 miles to the trailhead on good dirt road following the signs to the campground/trailhead.