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Montana - Cinnabar Point - 22Sptember2019

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Cinnabar Point is currently a mature lodgepole forest on a rolling summit.  In the 1980s the summit sported a dilapidated pole tower structure that may have been used as a lookout, but has since fallen and rotted.  It is an easy mountain bike ride up a permanently closed road and then a short climbing trail to an off-trail gradual assent to the summit. 

At the road/trail transition is a recording weather station with VHF data transmission used by the USFS and NOAA to monitor weather conditions and calibrate weather forecasts for the area.  The area has been extensively timber-harvested providing lumber for many homes.  Those harvest units have all regenerated into a fast-growing mostly lodgepole pine forest creating a diverse forested landscape. 

Surprising was the use of the summit by a moose as evidenced by browsed shrubs and a large shed-antler.  The antler was a yummy chewy for rodents seeking minerals. 

Elevation gain:  800’

Trail Miles:   <0.50 roundtrip. 

Off-trail miles: < 0.25 roundtrip.

Water:  None exists along the road or the trail.     

Bear Pepper Spray:  Highly recommended in all Montana summits. 

Map:  US Forest Service, either the Bitterroot National Forest or the Lolo National Forest, Missoula Ranger District map. 

Directions:  Travel from Stevensville to the north or from Florence travel to the south on the Eastside Highway #203.  Turn east onto the Ambrose Saddle Road #1100.  At Ambrose saddle turn north onto FS 2129 and travel approximately 3.25 miles to gated road #4268.  Proceed about 1.75 miles up this road to a saddle and trail junction, Cinnamon Bear Trail  #93.  Take this trail less than a mile or whenever you feel comfortable and go off-trail uphill to the summit.  Be prepared to crawl over a bit of mountain pine beetle killed lodgepole pine.  Otherwise it is an easy hike.