Predawn At Red Rock Lakes NWR

North Shore

SW Montana Centennial Valley Backcountry Picture Tour – Part Two

There is an oasis near Lakeview, Montana that you have to spend a night or more to take in all the sights and sounds. In addition to the wildlife and scenery, you will also meet three or more bicycle riders from all over the world, who made this spot there campsite for the night as they cross the United States primarily on gravel roads.

Big Winds, Baby Leeches, Best Water

So you just finished a sweaty hike up nearby Sheep Mountain. Go ahead and wade in the shallow Red Rock Lake but be sure to check for leeches when you get out of the water. They are a small inconvenience but they make tasty duck food. After you cool off make sure you secure your tent for possible high winds. It’s no fun looking for your equipment and tent in the dark. If you don’t believe me just ask the couple camped fifty yards from my campsite. One of the highlights of the camp was the spring water (pictured below). Under a hot July sun, water is still the best drink there is.

Mount Antone

Blacktail Road (FS 202)

Empty Corral

Ride North on Blacktail Road

In the morning you might be fortunate to see the Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge radio monitoring trucks (pictured above) as they prepare to to drive out in the field to track radio collard wildlife. You also have a decision on what direction you should travel.  Continue riding east towards Henry Lake, Idaho and West Yellowstone, Montana or ride north up Blacktail Road towards Dillon, Montana.   We made the drive from Highway 87 over Red Rock Pass into the Upper Red Rock Lake area on a cloudy day in February. We were amazed at the number of Moose we found near the snow covered road.  Sorry, there wasn’t enough sunlight for pictures or video. We have an idea what that landscape looks like so let’s ride north on the Blacktail Road to see a countryside we have never seen before.

Time stands still on the Blacktail Road

The pictures says it all, the landscape and occasional log cabins made you feel like went back in time one hundred years. This area must be an incredible place to hunt.  To avoid dozens of hunters, you can ride a pack horse in the Bob Marshall Wilderness  to hunt or you could just drive to this location to get into the elk and get away from the crowds.