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Skalkaho Wildlife Preserve

Hamilton Montana

Listing Type: Wildlife Refuge
City: Hamilton Montana
Region: Glacier Country

This isolated, mountainous 23,000-acre wildlife preserve is forested with dense spruce and subalpine fir, amid beautiful lush meadows. The area is totally closed to hunting. In the spring and summer, look for gray and Steller's jays, dark-eyed juncos, Brewer's sparrows, olive-sided flycatchers, and hairy woodpeckers. Visitors in the fall may see large concentrations of elk and hear bull elk bugle from the high basins in early morning or late evening, especially east of Fool Hen and Kneaves Lakes. Hikers can see mountain goats around dome Shaped Mountain, near the junction of trails 313 and 86, which follow the ridge around Skalkaho Basin. Watch for moose along trail 321 in the Burnt Fork drainage. Mule deer, badgers, coyotes, and clack bears are common throughout the preserve. Mountain bicycling is a good way to see wildlife, especially the fall road closure period, October 15 through December 1. Trail 313 offers prime opportunities for overnight cross-country ski trips. Since only the first 10 miles of Montana Highway 38 are plowed, winter viewing by car depends on snow depth.

Directions: From Hamilton, travel 3 miles south on US Highway 93, then turn east on Montana Highway 38 (Skalkaho Highway) and proceed 26 miles east to the top of the pass (20 miles if gravel). Turn north on Forest Road 1352 (closed to all motorized vehicles October 15 through December 1) and drive for 5 miles into the Skalkaho Basin (past Dam Lake). A wildlife interpretive sign and orientation map is on FR 1352 right after turning off MT 38.

Skalkaho Wildlife Preserve
Bitterroot National Forest, Darby, MT 59829

  • Wildlife Viewing

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