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  23 July 2017  |  Vol: 4 facebooktwitterrss  
 
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Hyalite Creek / East Fork of Hyalite Creek trails
Sourdough Creek Trail
South Fork of Spanish Creek Trail
Hiking - easy-moderate

Maybe you’ve seen those bumper stickers that read, “Life’s about the journey, not the destination,” but on Spanish Creek you can count on both. After leaving Highway 89 and Gallatin Canyon, the road to the Spanish Creek Trailhead crosses a big chunk of the Flying D Ranch, owned by media magnate Ted Turner and arguably the finest ranch in Montana. Drive slow to take in the view, and drive slower to avoid Ted’s bison—he currently has more on this property than in all of Yellowstone National Park.

Oh—the hike!—I almost forgot. With a big turnaround for the trailers and all that Lee Metcalf Wilderness ahead, this one’s a hit with the horse-folk and hikers, too (no mountain bikers permitted). Follow the relatively easy grades to Pioneer Falls, or take the left fork farther to the quiet and wonderful Mirror Lake; both offer worthy destinations and photo ops.

If you’re looking for... MORE, consider big-time loops like Spanish to Hellroaring Creek or Spanish to Cherry Creek. Both are BIG hikes stretching over 20 miles—they’re doable in a day, but only if you’re fast, light, tough, and moving.

Distance: Various lengths, but Pioneer Falls is about 3.5 miles, one-way

Elevation gain: 750 feet

Seasons: Usually dry May through October, weather permitting

Trail(s) used: #407 and #410

Map of trailhead:

View South Fork of Spanish Creek trail in a larger map

Notes:
 
DAS KIND
Date: 26-May-2013 Time: 15:00
We left the trailhead and took the first fork right toward, I believe, the Cherry Creek headwaters. Splendid. The rain broke just as we cleared the first ridge and the views are fantastic. Muddy, but snow-free and the greenest I've ever seen the Flying D.

TAMCLF
Date: 09-Sep-2012 Time: 10:45
finally checked Mirror Lake off our bucket list - quiet trail - had the lake entirely to ourselves! mostly clear blue sky except some smoky haze hanging on the mountains peaks in the cirque above the lake. a bit of fall color starting.

STROMBOLI
Date: 17-Jun-2012 Time: 0:00
Hike and camped at Mirror Lake. Snow level is at about 8300 (on the 17th). Mirror lake is clear of snow, everything higher still looked frozen.

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