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Cliff and Wade Lakes Interpretive Trail

Ennis Montana

Listing Type: National Forest Trail
City: Ennis Montana
Region: Southwest Montana

An easy, interpretive nature walk.

Cliff and Wade Lakes Interpretive Trail goes downhill from Hilltop Campground to Wade Lake Campground or uphill from Wade Lake to Hilltop. After the walk, you have the option of returning on the trail or following the road from Hilltop or Wade or vise versa depending on where you started.

If you are not staying at Hilltop Campground it might be best to start at the Wade Lake end of the loop since there is parking at the sign. Those who do not enjoy walking uphill could be dropped off at Hilltop and picked up again at the bottom. From Cliff Point Campground, the Fault Trail connects to the lower end of the interpretive trail.

This interpretive walk illuminates the varied ways nature creates its different environments. Nature is always at work shaping the land and forest, building and destroying. You will see wide-ranging examples of these works such as flying rocks, twisting trees, beetle kills, creeping ground, and a talking fir named Doug. The signs throughout the trail delve into the diverse natural processes which affect the landscape. Some of these are lightning, fire, canyon forming, and slope aspects. These processes take place everywhere, and after the walk you will be better able to notice and understand nature at work. Along the way you will learn how to identify local trees, birds, and even lichens.

Length: 2.0 miles round trip. Low difficulty

Trail Begins: Hilltop Campground.Trail Ends: Wade Lake Campground

USGS Map: Cliff Lake

Directions: Follow US Highway 287 about 40 miles south from Ennis. Turn right at the sign for Cliff and Wade Lakes. Continue down the dirt road for about 6 miles to Cliff and Wade Lakes. The trail begins alternately at the back of Hilltop Campground or on the road just before Wade Campground. Large interpretive signs entitled Nature Builds and Destroys mark the trailheads. The Fault Trail also runs about a mile up the canyon from Cliff Point Campground, tying in at the bottom of the interpretive trail.

Cliff and Wade Lakes Interpretive Trail
Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, Ennis, MT 59729

  • Hiking
  • Education
  • Walking
  • Parking
  • Interpretive Display
  • Trail

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