Feeling a little tired and sick, but needing some outside time, Jeff and me decided to hike to pleasantly inclined Big Creek trail. Following the, well, big creek, the sweeps under and through western red cedar, western larch, and ponderosa pine as the stream creates a din of white noise that is occasionally broken by the song of Swainson’s Thrush or Pacific Wren. The sun was shining softly through a thin haze of high clouds, and rise in humidity could be felt on the skin. A couple of Western toads (Bufo boreas) hopped from underfoot, including on hog of an amphibian at the pack bridge that crosses Big Creek. We also ran into 2 Common Gartersnakes with their bright yellow stripes on almost black bodies. I failed to catch either of them…man, I am still of kid. If you need a quick and easy hike to tame your mind or just stretch those office-weary legs, Big Creek is one of the best hikes in the Bitterroots.
From Stevensville, MT take the Stevi cut-off road to Highway 93. Travel south for 5.6 miles and turn west (right) onto Bell Crossing. Follow for 0.5 miles and turn north (right) onto Curlew Orchard/Meridian Rd. The road will become Big Creek Road and then Big Creek Trail Road. Follow for approximately 3.5 miles to the end and the trailhead. There is a pit toilet at the trailhead (thank God).
Max elevation: 4367 ft