Rock Creek Falls in Montana: Hiking and Directions

Rock Creek Falls in Montana is a secluded waterfall near Deer Lodge. Reaching it is an adventure, as the road to the falls requires a rugged 4WD or four-wheel-drive vehicle. You may encounter wildlife and even share the road with cattle along the way.

The trip to Rock Creek Falls is just as thrilling as arriving there. We’ll help you find the best path so you don’t miss stunning views. Plus, I’ll give you tips on respecting nature and property rights to help keep the area beautiful for everyone.

Why should you care about a waterfall in Montana? Rock Creek Falls is where stunning natural beauty and rugged adventure come together. Are you excited to explore this natural wonder? Let’s explore what your visit to Rock Creek Falls will involve.

6 Key Takeaways on Rock Creek Falls

  1. Accessing the falls requires a tough, high-clearance four-wheel-drive vehicle due to the rugged terrain and encounters with wildlife and cattle.
  2. The best time to visit Rock Creek Falls is from June to September. During this time, the Trask Lakes Trail is the recommended path to maintain the area’s pristine condition.
  3. Hiking trails near the falls, like the Rock Creek Trail and Trask Lakes Trail, cater to various hiking preferences and offer breathtaking views.
  4. Detailed directions from Sandpoint will guide you to Rock Creek Falls. Preparation is essential for walking this trail due to rough road conditions.
  5. The Trask Lakes Trail, a 15.8-mile round trip, not only leads to beautiful lakes but also offers fishing opportunities and stunning panoramic views.
  6. The Dolus Lakes Trail, a 6.6-mile round trip, provides a moderate hiking challenge and a scenic route through alpine meadows to the lakes.

About Rock Creek Falls

Location CoordinatesHeightNearby AttractionsLocation
46.41021° N, -112.96255° W35 feet (11 meters)Rock Creek Lake, Mt Powell, Racetrack Peak, Doney LakeNear Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, Powel County, Southwest Montana

Rock Creek Falls is a hidden waterfall in Powell County, Montana, near Deer Lodge. Getting there is quite an adventure. You need a strong 4WD vehicle with high clearance because the road to the falls is rough and tough.

As you head towards the falls, prepare for some unique road companions. You may encounter wildlife and even cattle along the way. This serves as a reminder that you are in their territory and respecting their space is important.

The route to the falls includes the Trasks Lake Trail, which starts near Rock Creek and leads you to the falls. From the trailhead, you’ll pass notable areas such as Rock Lake, various small streams flowing into Rock Creek, and even an old mining camp.

Hiking this trail has some elevation gain, but the effort pays off. You’ll encounter stunning landscapes such as Rock Creek Meadows and Rock Lake as you progress. Near the falls, a trail heads to Rock Lake, offering even more to discover.

The best time to visit Rock Creek Falls is from June to September. During these months, the falls are most accessible and provide a refreshing escape from the summer heat.

It’s crucial to stay on the Trask Lakes Trail. This isn’t just a rule — it’s a sign of respect. You keep the area untouched by sticking to the trail and respecting private property boundaries. This approach allows everyone to enjoy the natural beauty while helping preserve it for future visitors.

Directions to the Falls

A narrow dirt trail with pine trees, scattered rocks, and dense vegetation leads to Rock Creek Falls

Let me take you through the route to Rock Creek Falls, starting from Sandpoint. This path leads you to this natural wonder and offers a pleasant pit stop.

  1. From Sandpoint, head east on Hwy 200. This road will take you towards Clark Fork and the Idaho-Montana border. 
  2. After about 18 miles, you’ll cross a bridge over the railroad tracks. Right after that, turn left (NE) onto F.R 150. 
  3. The next 0.3 miles under the power lines will lead you to a point where you must bear right onto F.R. 150. 
  4. Follow F.R. 150 for 5.3 miles until you reach F.R. 150 A. Here, you’ll turn right onto East Fork Rock Creek Road. It’s important to note that the road starts getting rough from this point onwards.

For those driving cars with lower clearance, finding a spot to park around here and continue on foot is advisable.

However, you can push for another mile in a vehicle with higher clearance. You’ll find a gated trailhead that starts a more rugged but rewarding path to the falls.

Hiking Trails Near Rock Creek Falls

The hiking trails near Rock Creek Falls cater to all levels, providing easy walks for families and tougher routes for experienced hikers. Each path offers distinctive scenery and opportunities to enjoy Montana’s natural beauty. Let’s explore these trails in detail to help you choose the best one for your adventure.

1. Rock Creek Trail

A rushing river next to Rock Creek Trail flows through a dense forest, with sunlight filtering through lush green trees

Start PointTrail LengthDifficultyKey Features
Rock Creek Recreation Area1.5 miles one wayModerately challengingMultiple creek crossings, unmarked trail

The Rock Creek Trail is the gateway to the stunning Rock Creek Falls. But be ready to get your feet wet as you’ll come across several creek crossings.

Rock Creek Trail is all about hiking and set in the Unaka Mountain Wilderness. Since it’s not marked and some stream crossings can be tough, you must be extra careful.

When you’re on the Rock Creek Trail, remember it’s meant for hiking only. The idea of fun here is to keep things simple and close to nature.

In this wilderness area, groups are kept small to preserve the peaceful vibe. You can have up to 14 people in a group, but for a truly immersive experience, think about going with just six or fewer.

As you prepare for your hike, remember these key points: the conditions are basic, the trail is primarily for hiking, and hiking in small groups is recommended.

2. Trask Lakes

A peaceful lakeside view of Trask Lakes features gently rippling water surrounded by dense evergreen forests under a clear sky

Starting PointTrail LengthDifficultyEstimated Hiking Time
Rock Creek Lake15.8 miles round tripModerately challengingApprox. 7 hours for the round trip

Trask Lakes Trail is an adventure that starts at Rock Creek Lake and guides you through the stunning Flint Creek Range to a series of small, beautiful lakes. 

Trask Lakes Trail offers a picture-perfect view with Deer Lodge Mountain, Mount Powell, East Goat Mountain, and Racetrack Peak in the background.

Trask Lakes are also a haven for fly fishing thanks to their natural trout populations. Anglers love the peaceful waters, making it a perfect spot to relax and reel in a catch.

One thing to remember: getting to the trailhead isn’t easy. The drive can be difficult, so make sure your vehicle can handle it. But believe me, it’s worth the effort.

3. Dolus Lakes Trail

Dolus Lake surrounded by a dense pine forest, a location near Rock Creek Falls in Montana.

Trail NameTrail LengthDifficultyKey Features
Dolus Lakes Trail6.6 miles round tripModerate Alpine meadows, blooming wildflowers

The Dolus Lakes Trail offers hikers both a challenge and scenic beauty. Following Dolus Creek, the trail provides breathtaking views and diverse landscapes.

At the end of Dolus Lakes Trail, you’ll discover the Dolus Lakes. More than just beautiful, these lakes offer an ideal place for a restful break and a picnic. The scenic setting encourages you to unwind and enjoy the peacefulness of the water and surrounding landscape.

One of the best parts of this hike is walking through the alpine meadows. These meadows are filled with colorful wildflowers in the summer, making a beautiful path for nature lovers. The varied scenery along the Dolus Lakes Trail makes every step exciting.

Rock Creek Falls Final Thoughts

Rock Creek waterfall tumbles over moss-covered rocks surrounded by dense greenery and trees in a forested area of Montana.

Rock Creek Falls is more than just a beautiful place, it’s a special part of Montana. You’ll feel a deep connection to nature as you watch the waterfall over the rocks. This spot shows off the unspoiled beauty that Montana is known for.

Rock Creek Falls is more than just a pretty view for outdoor lovers. It’s a spot to hike, breathe fresh mountain air, and feel the waterfall’s mist on your face. If you’re into exploring new trails or having a peaceful time in nature, Rock Creek Falls has something special for everyone.

Remember to include Rock Creek Falls when planning your trip to Montana. It’s a place you won’t forget, and you’ll likely want to visit again to experience its beauty anew.

Rock Creek Falls FAQs

1. How Do I Get to Rock Creek Falls?

Access to Rock Creek Falls is via a rugged road approximately 12 miles from the trailhead. Visitors typically drive east on Hwy 200 towards Clark Fork, then turn left onto F.R 150, and continue for about 5.3 miles to F.R. 150 A. From there, it’s another mile to the gated trailhead.

2. What Are the Best Times to Visit Rock Creek Falls?

Rock Creek Falls can be accessed from June through September, offering optimal conditions for exploration and enjoyment. However, conditions may vary depending on weather and trail maintenance.

3. Is a High-Clearance Vehicle Necessary to Reach Rock Creek Falls?

Yes, due to the rugged terrain and road conditions, a 4WD vehicle with higher-than-normal clearance is recommended to access the falls safely.

Explore our Montana section for further insights on the wonders of the state:

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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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