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Montana - Blackrock Peak 5July2018

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Blackrock Peak is named for the dark gray to black lichens growing on the summit boulder field.  The rock itself is mostly light tan-colored and from a distance the dark lichen patterns appear like large stationary cloud shadows draped over the summit and adjoining ridges. Distance views include the rugged Mission Mountains, the Bitterroot Mountains, the Cabinet Mountains and on clear days Flathead Lake and Glacier National Park.

Blackrock Peak sits on the high boundary between the Confederated Salish-Kootenai of the Flathead Indian Reservation and the Lolo National Forest.  It overlooks the Ninemile and Jocko valleys. 

Over half of the hike route is on trail #708.  When you begin to reach the open grassland and can see your destination, it’s then your choice of when exit the trail to bushwack your way over to Blackrock.  The forested areas are steep and the open rock is intermittent loose boulders or bedrock.  The last summit pitch has boulders that sometimes can ‘tip’ under a scramblers weight. 


Elevation gain:  1600’

Trail Miles:  3 roundtrip

Scrambling Miles: 2 roundtrip

Water:  None.  The trail hike up the ridge and cross-country scramble are dry. 

Bear Pepper Spray:  Highly recommended in all Northern Idaho and Montana summits, forests and semi-forests.

Map:  Ninemile Ranger District, Lolo National Forest

Directions:  From I-90 take the Ninemile Exit and proceed up the main Ninemile road approximately 12 miles.  Turn right onto the McCormick Creek Road.  Follow this road #392 for a little over 2 miles and turn left onto road # 4213 traveling it for approximately 8 miles to the McCormick Trailhead.   At the trailhead some older USGS base maps show the trail going directly up the ridge, but it actually begins by following an old road grade #4213 for approximately ¼ mile prior to heading up the hill.  It is easy to locate and follow. 

The Ninemile Ranger Station and historic Remount Depot are along the roadway from the Interstate and worth a stop.  The mule museum there is a fun visit.  You can also secure maps and forest information from the friendly staff.