Maddie's Trails | A collection of quality hiking trails in Western Montana.

Maddie's Trails


Hub Lake3.5 miles, 1565 feet

A small but scenic lake on the Montana / Idaho Divide with opportunities to explore the surrounding country.

Description

Hub Lake is a little longer, a little tougher, a little smaller and a little farther from Missoula than Heart Lake, and I suspect all those contribute to it being less popular than its regional neighbor.

The first mile is relatively unusual in that you are walking through an old growth Cedar forest.  Though these trees are not quite as large as those along the Trail of the Cedars in Glacier National Park, they are still impressive.  This landscape is lush in some places, following Ward Creek while steadily gaining elevation for the first mile or so.  There is an established campsite about 0.8 miles up the trail - maybe a nice spot for a first overnighter for young children.

At about the 1 mile mark there is a nice view of a little waterfall (Dipper Falls?), and not far after that the trail forks.  Note the signs and stay right to reach Hazel and Hub Lakes.  From here the trail narrows and really climbs up a few long switchbacks that are quite steep in places.  Eventually the trail re-enters the forest on a gentler ascent.  At 2.7 miles you see Hazel Lake to your left.  The trail stays about 100 feet above the lake, though a steep trail drops to the shore.  We could not see any desirable campsites here.  A saddle across the lake invites exploration, and you can hear a small waterfall at the far end.  Though a nice little lake, it is worth the effort to press on to Hub.

After leaving Hazel the trail terrain opens up into a pretty little alpine basin.  Look behind you for the best view of Hazel.  After climbing over a ridge the trail drops steeply to a creek, then climbs up to Hub Lake.  Hub is about 0.7 miles beyond Hazel.  The shore is heavily forested on its north shore but opens up as you make your way around the lake.  The trail climbs the slope beyond the lake, providing a view of an old mine, eventually connecting to the stateline road/trail.  Hub is very pretty and would make a nice base camp for further exploring the area.  It is a strenuous hike but worth the effort, especially when huckleberries are ripe.

Getting There

From Missoula take I-90 West for 78 miles to Exit 25.  Get back on I-90 East and drive back to Exit 26.  From here it is 6 miles on the gravel Ward Creek Road which was in good condition September 2012.  There is limited parking but no facilities.


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