Friday, November 10, 2017

Sioux Charley splendor: In every season, remarkable beauty

Whirling waters of the Stillwater in south-central Montana lead the way to Sioux Charley.
The U.S. Forest Service has created a lovely path. 




EACH YEAR, rain or shine, we make a point to hike one of the most spectacular trails on Earth.

To our good fortune, this splendid place is just a few miles from our home on Montana's West Fork of the Stillwater River.
Friend Lynn Pitet and Cookie pause on the trail.
Even in a skiff of snow, we can safely maneuver from our gravel road to the blue highway that leads to the trail head of the hike to Lake Sioux Charley, named, many believe, to honor an Indian guide.
The entire trail is 26 miles long, the first
part following the river to the lake.

The trail follows the Stillwater River for three-fourths
of a mile, (trail number 24), goes to Sioux Charley Lake.
The popular trail is much loved by hikers, horseback riders and tourists.

into Sioux Charley in the  Beartooth Mountains is a pleasant six mile out-and-back hike. It takes lucky nature lovers past roaring cascades of the Stillwater River to a peaceful, wide stretch of the river perfect for a day hike and picnic.
I've taken my watercolors many
times, or the latest New Yorker.
The trail begins at the Stillwater River Trailhead at the end of the road past the tiny town of Nye and the Stillwater Mine. Here, on the northern front of the Beartooth Mountains, behold a glorious sight.
THE FIRST half-mile of the hike leads wanderers through what we locals call the Stillwater Gorge.
Its breathtaking features include tight cliffs on each side of the river with bird's eye views of  the churning river, boulders and waterfalls. This beautiful stretch makes the hike worthwhile, and leads to a tranquil meadow.
A few have tried their luck on rafts and kayaks. Since an unfortunate fatality a few years ago, we have not seen rafters.

People often meet horseback riders, and well behaved leashed dogs.

Lovely wildflowers dot the way to the lake.

One of the chief pleasures for me is stopping to "smell the roses" -- in the case of the Sioux Charley hike -- a gorgeous array of wildflowers along the path. We've seen bears and bighorns, too.
The trail goes much farther, but
most people only do 3.5 miles.
We've never had a bad trip up the gorge.
It's a family tradition and a treat for visitors. If you're our way, be our guests.

A well tended wolf, rescued because he was injured, pauses in the
Discovery Center after a meal, and is much admired and photographed.

UP NEXT: The Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone cares for both bears and wolves that cannot be returned to the wild.  This wonderful place is a fine educational tool for tourists and families. Remember to explore, learn and live and catch us Fridays for each weekend's post.


  1. Thanks for taking the armchair travelers of the world all around the globe.

  2. Maltese falcon fanciersNovember 16, 2017 at 10:48 PM

    Loved this hiking story and photos. Such a warm, leisurely style, with lovely illustrations. Eagerly awaiting your latest European adventure reports.