Two Hikes: Bearpaw Lake and Bear Paw Nature Trail
We got an early start at 7 a.m., deciding to travel by way of HIghwood to avoid the road construction on the highway to Fort Benton. We crossed the Rocky Boy Reservation to get to the largest county park in the nation: Beaver Creek Park is a part of a unique area in northcentral Montana plains country, the Bears Paw Mountains. The park is a 10,000-acre strip along the north slopes of the Bears Paw Mountains, about one mile wide and 17 miles long.
As it is county run, they do charge $9 per car for seniors to recreate, a small price to pay considering the wonderful nature of this wild place.
We started at Bearpaw Lake and hiked a 2.5 mile loop trail, taking a side trip to Beaver Creek Falls, to cross of another on our 21 falls in 2021.
We saw a marmot and some deer on this part of our adventure along with the babbling creek. We also saw a not-very-common flower: a fringed gromwell or puccoon.
It was lunch time when we finished, but the sun was hot with no shade along the lake, so we decided to head to Lion's campground, the trailhead for our second hike, to see if any shade were available there. And the answer was yes; Lions had two nice picnic shelters and lots of trees, so we ate there. Bonnie almost used some icky ancient outhouses until we spied brand new ones behind the picnic shelters--whew!
After lunch, Gail and Jo Ann decided they had had enough hiking, so just three went down the nature trail, a very nice walk on an old reclaimed road that was overhung with black hawthorns, aspen and cottonwoods, creating a canopy and shade as we enjoyed reading the interpretive placards every tenth of a mile or so. The wildflowers, especially the arrowleaf balsamroot and golden pea were gorgeous here too. Since Gail and Jo Ann were just waiting for us, we didn't go very far, about a mile, before turning around. The trail is flat and would be almost 6 miles round trip, so we thought we should come back in fall and put a car on each end to walk all the way through.
On the way home, we stopped in Fort Benton to have a bite to eat at the Wake Cup Cafe, but they weren't serving food, just drinks, but the gal suggested we go to the Club. Katie thought it was the Banque Club, but we found it closed. A gentleman on the street told us it was the VFW Club and told us how to get there. It was a very informal place, basic food, but we were hungry.
We arrived back home around 4 pm
Who went: Gail, Jo Ann, Randi, Bonnie, Katie