Pintler Falls: A Montana Nature Retreat

Pintler Falls, also called Pintlar Falls, is a beautiful spot in near Wise River in Montana. This 20-foot waterfall in the Anaconda Pintler Wilderness, within Bitterroot National Forests, offers a lovely view.

Getting to Pintler Falls is an adventure. There’s a short trail from Pintler Creek Road that leads to the falls. If you like longer hikes, you can start from the Continental Divide Trail, about 7 miles away.

Why visit Pintler Falls? Imagine finding a hidden waterfall with blue waters surrounded by wild nature. It’s more than just a pretty view, it’s a chance to explore Montana’s wild beauty and maybe even enjoy a picnic by the falls. 

6 Key Takeaways on Pintler Falls

  1. Pintler Falls in Montana’s Anaconda Pintler Wilderness is a must-see natural wonder a short hike from Pintler Creek Road.
  2. The journey to Pintler Falls offers two main trails: the shorter Pintler Falls Trail and the more extensive Pintler Creek Trail. Both trails are rich in scenic beauty.
  3. Activities near Pintler Falls range from swimming and boating in the clear waters of Montana to thrilling white water rafting.
  4. Wildlife viewing and horseback riding provide peaceful ways to connect with nature around Pintler Falls.
  5. For hunting enthusiasts, the Pintler Falls Wilderness Area offers a picturesque setting. However, it is essential to have the proper licenses and guidance during a hunt.
  6. Camping options cater to all preferences at Pintler Falls, from designated campsites to backcountry spots.

About Pintler Falls

Location CoordinatesHeightElevationNearby AttractionsLocation
45.8599232 ° N, -113.4456171° W20 feet (6 meters)6,417 feet (1,956 meters)Storm Lake,
Ripple Lake,
Johnson Lake, Oreamnos Lake
Anaconda Pintler Wilderness, Beaverhead County, Montana

Pintler Falls, also called Pintlar Falls, is a beautiful secluded spot in Montana. It’s about 30 miles from Wise River, located in the beautiful Anaconda Pintler Wilderness.

Pintler Falls is easily accessible via a short trail off Pintler Creek Road, deep within the heart of the Bitterroot National Forests in Beaverhead County.

The falls offers a peaceful experience with the cool waters of Pintler Creek. The short trail through the beautiful wilderness leads to the falls, located on an unnamed double-track trail.

The trail is shorter than half a mile and is likely near the end of Pintler Creek Road, making it an easy addition to your adventure list.

Pintler Falls is a great place for outdoor lovers. It’s where the clear, cold water of a mountain stream meets a peaceful lake trail, making it a special spot to visit.

Hiking Trails to Pintler Falls

Hiking to Pintler Falls is an adventure into Montana’s beautiful nature. The trails to the falls are not just scenic but also offer a fun hike ending with the stunning sight of the waterfall.

1. Pintler Falls Trail

Pintler waterfall flows over mossy rocks in a wooded area in Montana, surrounded by ferns and trees.

DistanceElevation GainDifficulty LevelTrail Type
0.6 miles25 feetModerately easyOut and back

Getting to Pintler Falls is an adventure in itself. The trail leading to this natural wonder starts at the end of Pintler Creek Road 185.

Here’s what you need to know to make the most of your journey to Pintler Falls:

  • Parking – The trailhead is at the end of the road, and there are usually many parking areas.
  • Hike Details – The trail to the falls is about 0.6 miles one way, which is just over half a mile. It’s a nice length for a moderate hike. Just a heads-up, this trail isn’t suitable for strollers or wheeled devices. It’s all about walking and, if needed, carrying.
  • What to Expect – Nature keeps the trail interesting with obstacles like roots, soft ground, and fallen logs. These remind you that you’re in a wild and untouched place.

This trail is meant for walking, bringing you closer to the beautiful surroundings. Leave any wheels behind, embrace nature’s challenges, and prepare to be amazed by Pintler Falls.

2. Pintler Creek Trail

Pintler creek winds through a green landscape with a colorful sunset and forested hills in Montana.

DistanceElevation GainDifficulty LevelTrail Type
7.1 milesUnknownModerately challengingPoint to point/out and back

The Pintler Creek Trail leads you to Pintler Falls. It’s a 7.1-mile hike that starts at the end of Pintler Creek Road 185 and goes through some amazing landscapes.

Pintler Creek Trailhead or starting point is located at the end of Pintler Creek Road 185. The trail then leads you to its ending point, a path that meets the Continental Divide Trail 9 (CDT) at a marginal stock camp.

Foraging opportunities are limited, especially near the camp. The trail condition is mostly good, although there are some wet areas. The trail is cleared and usable all year round.

As you hike, the trail goes up steadily, but it’s in good shape to enjoy the nature around you. Remember, only walking is allowed — no bikes or motorized vehicles. This keeps the trail quiet and peaceful.

Things to Do Near Pintler Falls

Pintler waterfalls in Montana flows over mossy rocks in a lush forest.

Exploring around Pintler Falls opens up a world of adventure and beauty. The area is rich in activities that let you enjoy nature up close. Let’s dive into the top things to do, all just a stone’s throw away from this stunning natural wonder.

1. Swimming

Four people laugh and play in a shallow lake at sunset near Pintler Waterfall, Montana, with one woman floating on an inflatable ring.

Swimming at Pintler Falls might seem like a good idea because some hikers have enjoyed it. However, swimming right in the waterfall is not safe. The undercurrents are strong and can be dangerous. It’s best to enjoy the view and the sounds for your safety.

That said, the Anaconda Pintler Wilderness has plenty of safe places to swim. Think about bodies of water like lakes and rivers that are cool and clear, all thanks to glaciers and mountains. It’s like nature’s own swimming pool.

Johnson Lake and Storm Lake, located just a few miles from the falls, are great mountain lake options. An essential tip for swimming in these cool waters is to bring a warm blanket. It’s great for getting cozy after your swim.

2. Boating

A woman in a life vest kayaks on a lake with mountains in the background

Boating is a popular activity in the Anaconda Pintler Wilderness, offering lots of fun on the water. You can kayak, canoe, or use a motorboat to explore the beautiful area. There are many options for enjoying the water.

Here’s a quick guide to boating in the Anaconda Pintler Wilderness:

  • Bring Your Own Boat – If you’ve got a beloved boat waiting to hit the water, this is your chance. The wilderness welcomes personal watercraft, letting you sail off on your terms.
  • Opt for a Rental – Local outfitters offer a variety of boat rentals and tours for those without a boat or looking to try something new. Trusted options include Many Glacier, Glacier Outfitters, and Sea Me Paddle, making it easy to find the perfect vessel.

Boating lets you explore parts of the wilderness that are hard to reach by foot, offering a unique view of the area. If you want a calm float or an exciting ride, the waters of the Anaconda Pintler Wilderness are ready for you to discover.

3. White Water Rafting

A group in helmets and life jackets rafts on a rocky river near Pintler Waterfall, Montana, surrounded by greenery.

White water rafting is popular around Anaconda Pintler Wilderness. People enjoy the thrill of paddling through rough waters. It’s more than just a sport here, it’s a way to experience Montana’s wild nature.

When you’re ready to try the rapids, there are many options. Outfitters and companies offer different trips, from short rides to longer adventures that last several days.

Some places to start your white water rafting journey include:

  • Get Your Guide Day Rafting Trip
  • Glacier Raft Company
  • Great Northern Rafting and Resort
  • Rafting Trips with Wild River Adventure

Each of these places has something special. You’ll find it whether you’re looking for a wild ride or a more laid-back experience.

Remember, safety comes first, so always listen to your guide. Now, enjoy the waves and make great memories in Montana’s rivers.

4. Wildlife Viewing

A man in a red shirt photographs a meadow while two children walk on a nearby trail, surrounded by greenery and wildflowers, close to Pintler Waterfall.

When you hike around Pintler Falls, you’re visiting where many animals live. Seeing wildlife here is special. It’s a chance to see animals living naturally in untouched wilderness.

Here are a few things to keep in mind to ensure safe wildlife viewing around the Pintler Falls area:

  • Be Prepared – Make sure you have all the right gear. This includes a bear spray, a first aid kit, and a GPS locator. It’s also a good idea to carry extra water and food.
  • Choose Less Traveled Paths – You’re more likely to see wildlife in peace. Opt for trails that are not as crowded.
  • Respect Their Home – Keep a safe distance and never feed the animals. This helps them stay healthy and wild.

Remember to tread carefully and follow the guidelines to ensure your safety and the animal’s well-being.

5. Horseback Riding

Two cowboys wearing hats talk on horseback in a sunny field with rolling hills near Pintler Waterfalls in Montana.

Horseback riding at Pintler Falls opens up a whole new world of adventure. What’s great is you can bring your horse. The Wilderness Area has plenty of trails perfect for horse riding, and you don’t need special permissions.

If you don’t have a horse, no problem. Some places rent horses and offer rides from one hour to several days. It’s a great way to see Montana’s beauty differently.

Some outfitters offer more than just trail rides. You can find rides with wine tasting, nice meals, or even overnight stays. It’s a good idea to look at their websites for more information and to book your ride.

Here are some top outfitters and guides you might want to look into for horseback riding:

  • Montana Trail Horse
  • Royal Tine Outfitters
  • Iron Wheel Guest Ranch
  • Feather Woman Mountain Adventures
  • Triple Creek Ranch

Each offers a different experience, from leisurely rides to adventure-packed trips. Whether you’re a seasoned rider or your first time on a horse, a perfect ride awaits you at Pintler Falls.

6. Hunting

A young man in camouflage aims a compound bow in an autumn forest near Pintler Waterfall, Montana, with golden leaves in the background.

Hunting is a big tradition in Montana, and the Pintler Falls Wilderness Area is a beautiful place for hunters to enjoy their sport. Before you go hunting, it’s important to check that you know all the rules and have the correct licenses. Make sure you’re fully prepared.

It’s also a good idea to check with local authorities or book your trip through trusted guides who know the area well. This not only ensures you’re following the rules but also adds a layer of safety and local insight to your experience.

For those looking to go on a guided hunting trip, the Pintler Falls area has several companies catering to different preferences, including:

  • Montana Hunting Fishing Adventures
  • Montana Hunts
  • East Fork Outfitters
  • Stockton Outfitters

These experienced guides can help you have a successful and safe hunting trip.

7. Camping

A tent, blue chair, and campfire are set up by a river near Pintler Falls, surrounded by green grass and trees under a clear sky.

Camping near Pintler Falls lets you find the perfect campsite close to nature. You can pick from established campsites in the wilderness area or more secluded backcountry spots, depending on how you want to connect with the surroundings.

For those who like RV parks, there are good options nearby so that everyone can find their ideal camping style. Whether you want a base camp for hiking or to enjoy the falls from your tent, there’s a spot for you.

Preparing for your camping trip is important for safety and fun. Be ready for the wilderness by bringing bear spray and using bear-proof food storage. Also, pack the right first aid and safety gear. This includes things for injuries and safe campfire making.

Before you camp after dark, check the latest campfire rules. These rules can change with the seasons or other conditions, so knowing them to camp safely and follow the law is important.

Pintler Falls Final Thoughts

Pintler falls in Montana, flows over rocks with logs across the stream, surrounded by trees.

Pintler Falls makes a big impact on everyone who visits. This 20-foot waterfall drops into a pool with blue water, making it easy to see why the place is so special.

The peaceful sound of the falls, the bright colors of the plants, and the cool mist create a memorable experience. Pintler Falls is perfect for anyone who loves nature’s peace and beauty. 

Visiting Pintler Falls is more than seeing a beautiful waterfall — it’s about making lasting memories of Montana’s wild nature. As you plan your visit, remember to respect the environment and leave no trace. Pintler Falls is a place to cherish and consider long after your trip.

Pintler Falls FAQs

1. Is Swimming Allowed in Pintler Falls?

Swimming in Pintler Falls is not recommended due to the dangerous undercurrents. Safer swimming options are available in nearby lakes and rivers within the Anaconda Pintler Wilderness.

2. Are There Any Restrictions on Activities Near Pintler Falls?

Certain activities, such as swimming and boating, may have restrictions or guidelines to ensure visitor safety and protect the natural environment.

3. How Far Is Pintler Falls From Wise River, Montana?

Pintler Falls is approximately 30 miles from Wise River, Montana, within the Anaconda Pintler Wilderness.

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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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