West Fork Fish Creek to the Cathedral of Cedars

Looking for a cool hike on a hot summer day? The West Fork Fish Creek starts out hot as we hiked through the blackened spires from the 2015 burn. But eventually, we reach the Cathedral of Cedars where towering western red cedars shade the cool waters of Fish Creek. This is a relatively flat trail that follows along a cool creek is a great day hike.

From the Clearwater Crossing trailhead, we forded the creek, which was relatively deep and hairy in terms of footing. The suspension footbridge that once crossed West Fork Fish Creek was destroyed in the 2015 wildfire.  After hiking roughly 3 miles, we came to pack bridge that marks the edge of the Cathedral of Cedars. We spent time resting and enjoying the large pool above the bridge before turning back to the trailhead.

Total distance: 6.71 mi
Max elevation: 3950 ft
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Trailhead...always starting at the trailhead

Trailhead…always starting at the trailhead

Chilly feet crossing the West Fork Fish Creek

Chilly feet crossing the West Fork Fish Creek

Vida gearing up after the fording

Vida gearing up after the fording

Tall fireweed in this formerly intense burn

Tall fireweed in this formerly intense burn

life always find a way until the fire

life always find a way until the fire

Bee-like Robber Flies getting busy

Bee-like Robber Flies getting busy

West Fork Fish Creek near the Cathedral of Cedars

West Fork Fish Creek near the Cathedral of Cedars

Ground layer of ferns under the western red cedar

Ground layer of ferns under the western red cedar

The Cathedral of Cedars from ground level

The Cathedral of Cedars from ground level

The Cathedral of Cedars is very Tolkien place

The Cathedral of Cedars is very Tolkien place

Cathedral of Cedars on the West Fork Fish Creek

Cathedral of Cedars on the West Fork Fish Creek

Old burned snag under the canopy of western red cedar

Old burned snag under the canopy of western red cedar

Pack bridge over the creek
West Fork Fish Creek from the pack bridge

West Fork Fish Creek from the pack bridge

Vida is getting lucky...no really

Vida is getting lucky…no really

She is doing the big cool off

She is doing the big cool off

West Fork Fish Creek

West Fork Fish Creek

Written by Radd Icenoggle

I am a native Montanan, who has spent a lifetime as an outdoors and wildlife enthusiast. I earned a degree in biology with an emphasis on habitat relations. During my studies, I had the great fortune to research and compose a thesis that explored the effects of slope aspect on...
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