Hike the Continental Divide Trail via Roger Pass

Rate this Adventure 2.33 miles 665 ft gain  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by Jen Weir

Access right off the highway makes this one of the most convenient hikes I've ever done, not to mention, the views are pretty fantastic.

After driving over Rogers Pass more times than I can count, we finally made it a point to stop and check out the Continental Divide Trail No. 440 -- glad we did.

If you've driven the pass, you've seen the trail head about 66 miles west of Great Falls -- the wooden stairs off the right side of the road when you're headed toward Lincoln on highway 200. There's a large pull-out area to park in but that's all there is. You won't find an outhouse or port-a-potty in site.

Fun Fact: Rogers Pass holds the record for the coldest temperature recorded in the lower 48 states with a whopping 80 degrees below zero on January 20, 1954.

Once you climb the stairs and pass the trail signs, you'll hit a well-traveled, single-track dirt trail. The trail switchbacks up the mountain with some fairly steep inclines. Although the hike is not difficult, the elevation gain may slow you down a bit, especially if you're hiking with smaller children.

The trail weaves in and out of timber and opens up onto a flat meadow, giving you some pretty spectacular views. Continue through the meadow, under the small outcropping of rock, and back into the timber. It gets a little thick with trees and tall grass but once again opens up on top. Continue to the high point where you'll likely be welcomed with gusts of wind (a common occurrence on the Front), a bare, grassy top and a few cairns placed along the ridge line. You'll have great views of the plains as well as the Front to the north.

This marks the end of Trail 440 and is where we opted to turn around due to time restraints. However, you can continue on to Cadotte Pass, Green Mountain, Lewis and Clark Pass and Red Mountain but you're looking at about 8 miles farther with substantial changes in elevation, so prepare appropriately.

Along the trail you'll see wildflowers and possibly some wildlife -- deer and elk frequent the area. We ventured up the trail at the end of July and enjoyed the trip despite the fact that we were surrounded by an ocean of hazy smoke. I'd recommend making the hike in June when the wildflowers are blooming, the grass is green and the state of Montana is NOT on fire.  

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Tags

Fitness
Photography
Snowshoeing
Backpacking
Hiking
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Wildflowers
Wildlife

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