Smith River Valley

White Sulphur Springs, Montana

July 16, 2012

White Sulphur Springs makes a nice base camp for exploring the Helena National Forest with the Big Belt Mountains and the Lewis and Clark National Forest with the Castle Mountains.  The beautiful Smith River Valley is all about water.  Where there is water, there is green.  The wide basins of the Shields and Smith Rivers stretches between the Missouri and Yellowstone drainages. Although hemmed in by 5 mountain ranges, the valleys are vast and flat.


Riding west on Birch Creek Road into Helena National Forest we saw herds of content cattle grazing on the rolling hillsides.  This is one of many corrals used to load up the cows.


As we neared Gipsy Lake, the wildflowers exploded on the hillsides in a wide array of species.  I will get the book out to start to identify the blooms.  Too many to imagine.


The ride into the Lewis and Clark National Forest was also colorful with wildflowers on the forest floor.


The jeep cruising on fsr 211 along 4 mile creek.  The damage done by the Rocky Mtn pine beetle is evident everywhere in the forest as whole mountainside have been devastated.


The rolling hills along Castle Mountains have fabulous panoramic views.  We spotted a herd of antelope, many deer, two ring neck pheasants and a red shouldered hawk.


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