Discover Morrell Falls: Hiking and Safety Guide

Morrell Falls in Montana is a paradise near the charming town of Seeley Lake that provides a quiet retreat into nature. Its trail is a quick drive from Seeley Lake, a small town with 1,500 residents and plenty of amenities for outdoor enthusiasts.

Let’s journey from Seeley Lake to the Morrell Falls trailhead together. We’ll highlight significant landmarks and provide essential information about the trail. We’ll discuss its unique features, the impact of the Rice Ridge Fire, and important safety precautions for this secluded area.

Ever wondered what’s beyond the popular hiking trails in Montana? Morrell Falls lets you explore a quiet and breathtaking side of the state. As we discuss the trail and its surroundings, you’ll get tips for a safe and enjoyable hike, maximizing your time in this natural paradise.

5 Key Takeaways on Morell Falls

  1. Morrell Falls offers a peaceful escape 11 miles and 26 minutes away from Seeley Lake, making it an ideal destination for a day trip.
  2. Specific landmarks mark the road to Morrell Falls from Montana Highway 83, including a white house and the Sullivan Memorial Community Hall.
  3. The Morrell Falls Trailhead is part of the Morrell Falls National Recreation Trail. It offers a 5.4-mile round trip through fragrant forests and past peaceful mountain lakes.
  4. Other trails include the Grizzly Basin Trail and the Archibald Loop Snowmobile Trail, which offer diverse experiences and stunning views of the Swan Mountains.
  5. Proper preparation for a hike to Morrell Falls includes key hiking gear, navigation tools, and safety items. Safety items include bear spray, first aid kits, and sun protection.

About Morrell Falls

Location CoordinatesHeightNearby FeaturesLocation
47.300606° N, -113.464237° W70 feet (21.3 meters)Morrell Lake and Seeley LakeLocated near Seeley Lake, Montana, in Missoula County.

Morrell Falls is a hidden spot near Seeley Lake, a cozy town with about 1,500 people in Missoula County, Montana. It’s just 26 minutes and 11 miles from Seeley Lake, perfect for a day trip.

Seeley Lake is a favorite among Montanans for its outdoor activities, situated at an elevation of 4,019 feet (1225 meters). It’s well-known for camping, hiking, and skiing, and has amenities like restaurants, gas stations, and accommodations. It’s a great starting point for your trip to Morrell Falls.

To reach Morrell Falls from Montana Highway 83, follow Morrell Creek Road and look for the Sullivan Memorial Community Hall. The route is marked by a white house and a sign for the Lolo National Forest, so you’ll know you’re on track.

As you drive towards the trailhead, be ready for changing road conditions. The road becomes dirt quickly, and you might see obstacles like downed trees and mudslides, especially after wildfires. Watch for specific turns and landmarks, like the Seeley Creek Nordic Ski Trails parking lot and a bridge over a stream.

At the Morrell Falls Trailhead, look for a sign marking the start of the trail, also known as the Morrell Falls National Recreation Trail. The area was affected by the Rice Ridge Fire in 2017, leaving a visible burn scar. However, nature is bouncing back, and you’ll notice vegetation recovery.

Prepare for your visit by considering snow and mud. Equip your vehicle with snow tires, chains, and a shovel. The road to Morrell Falls can be rough, so drive carefully and enjoy the journey.

Trailhead to Morrell Falls

A dirt trail winds through a misty forest with tall pine trees near Morrell Falls in Montana

The trail to Morrell Falls is a popular 5.4-mile (8.69 km) round trip that passes through fragrant forests and two peaceful mountain lakes. This area is part of the Morrell Creek drainage, which comes from Grizzly Basin, and it’s close to the vast Bob Marshall Wilderness.

For those seeking more adventure, Morrell Lake has undeveloped campsites, but there’s no drinking water available. The trail is usually open from late spring to fall and showcases colorful wildflowers during this time.

In the early season, visitors might see fairy slipper orchids, glacier lilies, and violets. As summer goes on, the landscape changes with carnivorous sundew plants and spotted frogs.

Before heading out, remember that Morrell Falls is in grizzly bear territory. For safety, it’s best to hike with a companion or in a group.

When exploring the lakeside, be cautious as the vegetation near the water’s edge may be on floating mats. Montana’s weather can change quickly, so it’s wise to pack rain gear and wear sturdy, water-repellent hiking boots for the best experience.

Directions to the Trailhead

A peaceful path through the woods leading to Morrell Falls bordered by white wildflowers

To reach the Morrell Falls Trailhead from Seeley Lake, follow this eight-step guide:

  1. Head north on Highway 83 from Seeley Lake for 0.5 miles.
  2. Turn east (right) onto Morrell Creek Road just north of the Seeley Lake Veterans Memorial Park.
  3. Follow Morrell Creek Road for one mile.
  4. Turn north (left) on West Morrell Road (Forest Service Road 4353).
  5. Continue on West Morrell Road for nearly six miles.
  6. Turn east (right) on Pyramid Pass Road #4381 and go 0.25 miles.
  7. Turn north (left) on Morrell Falls Road #4364.
  8. Continue for 1 mile to reach the Morrell Falls Trailhead. The route is well-marked.

Other Hiking Trails

Grizzly Basin Trail decorated with bright wildflowers and lush vegetation

Here are a few more trails around Morrell Falls that you might want to check out. They promise a mix of adventure and beautiful views:

  1. Grizzly Basin Trail – The Grizzly Basin Trail starts near the waterfall on the Morrell Falls trail and goes up the north side. It’s a bit of a mystery trail, but it could offer some amazing sights.
  2. Archibald Loop Snowmobile Trail – The Archibald Loop Snowmobile Trail, near Seeley Lake, is mostly for snowmobiling. But if you’re up for a winter hike, it could show you a whole new side of the area, covered in snow.
  3. Art Jukkula Trail – The Art Jukkula Trail in Seeley Lake, this trail is all about a different kind of hike, with its own special views and natural beauty.

These trails vary in difficulty and offer unique scenery. They’re a great way to explore Morrell Falls and experience the beautiful Swan Mountains in Montana.

What to Prepare on Your Hike to Morrell Falls

A woman wearing a backpack walks a path by a mountainside near Morrell Waterfalls.

Preparing for a hike to Morrell Falls in Montana is key to having a safe and enjoyable time. Here’s what you need to know:

Hiking Gear and Clothing:

  1. Sturdy hiking boots with good traction are a must due to the trail’s uneven terrain.
  2. Consider water sandals and a bathing suit if you plan to swim.
  3. Warm and waterproof clothing is essential, especially in colder months. Layering is great for sudden weather changes.
  4. Pack enough water, snacks, and a lunch if you plan to picnic at the waterfall.

Navigation and Safety:

  1. Bring a trail map and navigation tools like a compass or GPS. Cell service can be spotty.
  2. Don’t forget your bear spray; it’s necessary for safety in a bear country.
  3. Carry a first aid kit, sun protection, and insect repellent for safety and comfort.
  4. Consider the length, elevation gain, and difficulty of the hike. Allocate 3-4 hours for the journey.

Before you go, check the weather forecast and trail conditions. This simple step can make a big difference in your hike’s success. With the right preparations, you’ll be ready for a memorable adventure at Morrell Falls, Montana.

Morrell Falls Final Thoughts

Morrell Falls tumbles over rocky cliffs amid a lush forest in Montana

Morrell Falls near Seeley Lake, Montana, is a peaceful spot that enchants nature lovers. The journey to this hidden gem is as enchanting as the destination. 

As you get ready for your 5.4-mile (8.69 km) hike, remember the basics. You need sturdy hiking gear, navigation tools, and safety items. It has post-fire landscapes and spring wildflowers. 

This adventure is more than just walking in the woods. It’s a chance to explore and connect with nature. Other nearby trails offer more chances. These include the Grizzly Basin Trail and the Archibald Loop Snowmobile Trail. You can discover the Swan Mountains on these trails.

Remember to tread carefully, respect the wilderness, and be prepared for any encounter. Morrell Falls is memorable for hikers of all levels. It is where Montana’s landscapes meet the thrill of exploration.

Morrell Falls FAQs

1. What Is the Best Time of Year to Hike to Morrell Falls?

The Morrell Falls trail is open from late spring to fall. You’ll see wildflowers during this time, making the hike even more beautiful. But remember, the weather can change fast, so check the forecast and bring the right gear.

2. Is Wildlife Commonly Spotted Along the Morrell Falls Trail?

You might see wildlife on the Morrell Falls trail, as it’s in Grizzly Bear territory. Even though you might not always see animals, be careful and follow safety rules.

3. Is Morrell Falls Suitable for Beginners?

Morrell Falls is an easy hike, great for beginners and families. The trail is well-kept and mostly flat, so it’s easy for everyone to enjoy.

Curious to learn more about Montana? Dive deeper into the wonders of Big Sky Country with these recommended articles:

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Written by:

Ashley Smith
Hello there! I'm Ashley Smith, born on a chilly winter's day, Montana has been my playground since childhood. The first snowfall of the year always brings back memories of building snowmen and winter hikes. Co-founding was my way of sharing the magic of Montana's seasons with the world. While Chris dives deep into the landscapes, I'm obsessed with Montana's rich culture, from the local festivals to the tales passed down generations.

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