Visit Skalkaho Falls: Directions and Hiking Trails

Skalkaho Falls in Montana is a stunning 150-foot waterfall in the Sapphire Mountains of Bitterroot National Forest. It is easy to access due to its convenient location by the road. The name, meaning “many trails,” reflects the area’s beauty and the numerous paths available for exploration.

Come along as we explore Skalkaho Falls and its nearby trails, where you’ll be treated to the scenic views of Falls Creek. Plus, we’ll introduce you to nearby hiking paths, like the peaceful Fuse Lake Trail and the more adventurous Stony Lake Trail.

Why should nature lovers go to Skalkaho Falls? Imagine being near the falls, feeling the cool mist, surrounded by Montana’s lush green trees. These experiences, along with personal trail stories, will surely make you curious and love nature even more.

4 Key Takeaways on Skalkaho Falls

  1. Skalkaho Falls is located along Montana Highway 38, known as Skalkaho Highway, connecting the Bitterroot Valley to the Philipsburg Valley. It’s near the top of Skalkaho Pass in western Montana, easily accessible from the road.
  2. With a height of approximately 150 feet, Skalkaho Falls is a year-round attraction, most breathtaking during the spring runoff when mountain snow melts. Visitors can feel the refreshing mist from the mountain stream as they approach the falls.
  3. Starting from downtown Hamilton, Montana, take the scenic Skalkaho Road (MT 38) for about 24 miles. Along the way, enjoy scenic views of Falls Creek as it descends towards Skalkaho Creek. Skalkaho Falls awaits amid the area’s natural beauty.
  4. Explore the hiking trails near Skalkaho Falls for an outdoor adventure amidst stunning mountain views, dense forests, and clear streams.

Where Is Skalkaho Falls?

Location CoordinatesHeightNearby AttractionsLocation
46.257778° N,
−113.826667° W
150 feetBitterroot ValleyWithin the Sapphire Mountains within Bitterroot National Forest, Ravalli County Montana

Skalkaho Falls is located along Montana Highway 38, also known as Skalkaho Highway, connecting the Bitterroot Valley to the Philipsburg Valley. You can find it near the top of Skalkaho Pass next to a road, which runs across the Sapphire Mountains in western Montana.

Although its name means “many trails” in the Salish language, Skalkaho Falls is easy to find and hard to miss. This beautiful waterfall is about 150 feet tall and flows year-round.

The falls are most impressive during spring runoff when melting mountain snow makes it look even more stunning. You will feel the cool mist from the mountain stream as you walk near the base.

Here’s how you can drive to Skalkaho Falls:

  1. Begin your journey from downtown Hamilton, Montana.
  2. Take the scenic Skalkaho Road (MT 38), also known as the Skalkaho Highway Scenic Byway.
  3. The drive to Skalkaho Falls is approximately 24 miles from Hamilton.
  4. You’ll be treated to stunning views of Falls Creek as it plunges towards Skalkaho Creek along the way.
  5. You’ll then find the captivating 150-foot Skalkaho Falls amid the natural beauty of the area.

Where to Go Hiking Near Skalkaho Falls

A beautiful view of Skalkaho Waterfall in Montana shows water flowing over rocky steps, surrounded by thick evergreen trees and bright green plants.

Try the hiking trails near Skalkaho Falls for a new outdoor adventure. These trails offer amazing views of the mountains, lush forests, and clear streams.

1. Fuse Lake Trail – Relaxing Hike Through Nature

Fuse Lake, near Skalkaho Waterfall in Montana, is surrounded by thick evergreen forests and rugged mountains under a clear blue sky.

Starting LocationLengthElevation gainTrail TypeDifficulty
Fuse Lake trailhead off Skalkaho Road (MT Highway 38)4 miles600 feetOut-and-backEasy

Fuse Lake Trail is an easy hiking trail about 1.5 miles past Skalkaho Falls on Skalkaho Road. You can find the trailhead on the right, near the top of Skalkaho Pass.

This 4-mile out-and-back hike starts at the Fuse Lake trailhead off Skalkaho Road. You will gain about 600 feet in elevation as you start the trail.

The trail winds through beautiful lodgepole and whitebark pine trees. It is a peaceful hike, perfect for a peaceful nature experience.

The highlight of the Fuse Lake Trail is the beautiful 13-acre Fuse Lake. The lake offers a breathtaking view surrounded by rocky cliffs on three sides. It is a great spot for a picnic or to enjoy the quiet surroundings.

2. Stony Lake Trail – Challenging Trail for Experienced Hikers

Stony Lake has clear, calm water reflecting pine-covered hills. The sky is partly cloudy with some blue patches.

Starting LocationLengthElevation gainTrail TypeDifficulty
Across the street from the Crystal Creek Campground on Highway 387.4 miles1,738 feetOut-and-backModerately Challenging

The Stony Lake Trail is a tough hike near Skalkaho Falls. The trailhead is right across from the Crystal Creek Campground on Highway 38. Hikers can enjoy the scenery both ways since The Stony Lake Trail goes out and then back.

This 7.4-mile trail offers beautiful scenery and a rewarding hike. It’s a challenging workout for hikers, with its 1,738-foot climb.

The trail is somewhat challenging, needing a decent level of fitness and stamina. It’s a favorite among hikers seeking adventure and exploring nature’s beauty.

Skalkaho Falls Final Thoughts

Skalkaho Falls flows down a rocky slope, surrounded by green trees and plants. The water looks silky as it rushes over the rocks in many streams.

We found lots of beautiful nature and fun things to do at Skalkaho Falls in the Sapphire Mountains of Bitterroot National Forest. It’s a big 150-foot waterfall with peaceful hiking trails nearby, making it great for people who love nature treks.

Try the Fuse Lake Trail for an easy hike. It’s a simple 4-mile walk through pretty pine forests to Fuse Lake. But if you’re up for a challenge, go for the Stony Lake Trail. It’s a bit tougher — a 7.4-mile hike with great views and a chance to test your hiking skills.

Whether you’re admiring Skalkaho Falls or seeking a rewarding hike, you’ll feel at peace and connected to nature. Don’t forget to bring water, snacks, and appropriate gear for your trip.

Skalkaho Falls FAQs

1. Is Hiking Required to See Skalkaho Falls?

You can see Skalkaho Falls from the road, so everyone can enjoy it, even if you can’t hike. But if you want a closer look, there are hiking trails nearby.

2. Can I Swim at Skalkaho Falls?

While it might be tempting to swim in the cool mountain stream at the base of the falls, it’s not safe to swim at Skalkaho Falls. The water flows fast, so it’s better to enjoy the view from a safe distance.

3. Are Skalkaho Falls Open All Year?

You can visit Skalkaho Falls any time of year, but from late November to late May, you can’t drive there because the road, MT 38, is closed.

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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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