Glen Lake

Trees still standing from the 2006 Gash Point fire surround the basin holding Glen lake and a smaller nearby tarn in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness.

CORY WALSH, Missoulian

Anyone wondering how their favorite hiking trail might recover after one of the fires of 2017 can get a quick lesson from a hike to Glen Lake.

This small mountain tarn in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness west of Victor got burned over in the Gash Point fire of 2006. Blackened trunks creak in the wind, giving a Mordor-esque vibe below the steep cliffs. But shrubs and new trees have filled in the landscape as well. And the opened viewshed overlooks the Bitterroot Valley far below.

Most of the hard work takes place behind the wheel. Turn off Highway 93 at the Bell Crossing Fishing Access Site two miles north of Victor and head west into the mountains on Forest Road 738. Where it forks, take the left Road 1321 for 7.6 miles of switchbacks to the trailhead.

The trail climbs about 700 vertical feet over 2.5 miles through groves of subalpine fir, larch and a few whitebark pine trees. An unsigned fork in the trail presents a choice. The left path goes directly to Glen Lake, while the right stays on a ridgeline to a smaller, unnamed tarn but provides great mountain views. Both lakes connect with a loop trail.

Those confident in their route-finding skills can continue on another 2.5 miles west to Hidden Lake, but that trail is not maintained. Otherwise, enjoy views of 8,886-foot Gash Point to the west and listen to the spooky wind whistle through the regrowing forest.

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