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Montana – Bare Cone Lookout 13Oct2016

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Bare Cone Lookout is a popular drive-up destination, motorcycle, quad 4-wheeler and auto, on the Bitterroot National Forest. Visitors travel here to visit an active US Forest Service Lookout and to experience the outstanding vistas of managed forest, wild forest landscapes and the rugged southern end of the Selway Bitterroot Mountains. A trail passes near the summit. The trail is on the historic southern route of the Nez Perce people, access to hunting bison on the vast Montana plains to the east.

Views of a commercial forest of nearly a hundred years of timber harvest with young to very old and large ponderosa pine, Douglas-fir, spruce and Rocky Mountain subalpine fir. They also include spectacular view of the southern mountains of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness Area. The surrounding landscape is in a very active fire environment with many large wildfire patterns from over 100 years ago to just a few years ago visible.

Directions: South of Darby leave highway #93 and go up the West Fork Bitterroot Road. This road is paved and well delineated. Travel southwest on this road for approximately 21 miles. Upon reaching Painted Rocks reservoir, cross the dam and continue along the west side of the reservoir and up the Blue Joint road #362 for approximately 3 miles. Turn North onto US Forest Service road #1303. Continue on this road for approximately 11 miles to Bare Cone Lookout. The roads are well signed.

There is ample room away from the lookout structure to set up wire antennas using whitebark pine trees, snags or bring along a pole. Much of the south side of the summit is open grassland. The north side is tree covered. The summit is a rarer grid square, DN25.