A brief history of the Lolo Trail:
The Lolo Trail was the northern route across the rugged Bitterroot Mountains used for centuries before Lewis & Clark by Native Americans of the West. The Nez Perce traveled east to the Great Plains and the buffalo. The Salish used the trail to reach the Lochsa River and fish for salmon.
After Lewis & Clark found the headwaters of the Missouri and crossed the Continental Divide at Lemhi Pass they scouted the Salmon River as a possible route to the Pacific. Upon realizing that route was not viable they followed the Bitterroot River towards the Missoula Valley. With their Shoshone guide, Old Toby they chose the Lolo Creek drainage to Lolo Pass. This is where our trips begin. All Lolo Trail trips are based on or near the old Forest Service Road 500 or "The Motorway". The motorway is a rugged jeep trail that follows the ancient trail. Built by the forest service and CCC crews from 1930-1935, not much has changed since then. The Forest Service, outfitters and private citizens work to clear the road each summer from downed trees and snowmelt that can easily stay into July.
What to expect on the Lolo Trail:
The history of this ancient route, its primitive state, and vast beauty are what make the Lolo Trail such an incredible place and authentic Lewis & Clark experience. Unlike other trails built for recreational purposes to reach mountain tops or alpine lakes, the Lolo Trail evolved out of function. Gary Moulton describes the Lolo Trail as a "route of opportunity". From Lolo Pass to the Wieppe Prairie the trail follows a general direction of east--west from meadow to meadow, watering hole to watering hole for human and livestock survival. Our goal is to visit the most historically significant and scenic points. This involves a fair amount of driving and walking or hiking. Remember, the best places are often the most difficult to reach. Fortunately, the best sites are located near the Motorway, which means any trip can be tailored to capabilities and desires. All hikes are optional and some can be extended or condensed.
Trip provisions - Guided hiking, walking or van touring and camping with historical interpretations.
Camping equipment-2-person Eureka tents, deluxe self-inflating sleeping pads, camp chair and coffee mug
Transportation on the Lolo Trail - All trips depart from the Lochsa Lodge, located 50 miles west of Missoula, MT on Hwy 12.
All meals starting with day-1 lunch and ending with day-3 lunch. Gourmet camp cuisine. Sample Menu
Pre-trip meetings & Pick-ups:
Lolo Trail pre-trip meetings vary based on group. If you are coming from Missouri River Canoe trip, we ask you arrange to stop by our Missoula headquarters before heading to Lochsa Lodge.
Getting there & away:
Flying: Missoula Airport (Northwest, Delta, United, Alaskan Airline Service) please inquire/arrange shuttle transportation to Lochsa Lodge if needed, limited space available Missouri River Combo Time-saver option is to fly into Great Falls and out of Missoula, renting a car in Great Falls and drop off in Missoula.
West to East on Hwy 12 from Lewiston, ID to Powell- Lochsa Lodge maps Continue east and join a Missouri River Canoe Trip!
We recommend traveling east to west. Beginning with a Missouri River Canoe trip makes your way west to Missoula and join a 1, 2, or 3 Day trip on the Lolo Trail. The Missouri River and Lolo Trail are the most pristine and diverse areas of the Lewis & Clark Trail, located only 4 hours apart.
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