Top Ten Things You Must Do During the Summer in Sanders County

The Falls Motel is located in the perfect location for exploring the northwest region of Montana. Within a reasonably scenic drive or simply a walk from your motel room, there is plenty of activities, things to do and place to see in this scenic Clark Fork River Valley. Want more? Ask the front desk for additional details and information. [b]1. Hike Cabin Lake Trail No. 459 & S. Four Lakes Creek Trail No. 460[/b] Directions from the Falls Motel: R- Highway 200 – drive 5 miles east L – Thompson River Road, approximately 6 miles (mostly paved road) L – West Fork Thompson River Road No. 603 – You’ll see a sign directing you to Cabin Lake and Four Lakes Trailhead Drive 8 miles, well used gravelly dirt road There is good parking at the trailhead. There is also a vault toilet available here.Trail Length: To Cabin Lake is a 2.5 mile hike (5 miles round trip). If you continue around the lake to the left you’ll pick up trail #460. This loop makes the trail 8 miles round trip and loops you back around to the parking lot. Total elevation gain: 1200ftPlan ahead: Bring bear spray, good camera with new batteries, lunch & plenty of water. [b]2. Picnic at Grave’s Creek Water Fall[/b] Directions from the Falls Motel: L- Highway 200 – drive1 miles west R – Blue Slide Road – stay right, drive approximately 6 miles R – Grave’s Creek Road, a well traveled gravelly dirt road 2.5 miles, the road can be bumpy so take it easy, though any vehicle can make this trip easily. Parking lot is on the left side of the road.This beautiful waterfall stages in a crystal clear pool before it crashes down a rugged rock chute. We suggest taking a picnic, folding chairs and your camera to truly soak in the beauty of this valley. [b]3. Stroll about PPL Island Park, Fish Ladder and High Bridge[/b] From your room at the Falls Motel walk ½ block north on Gallatin Street. Across the Gallatin Street Bridge you will come to a fork in the path. If you veer right you’ll come to the High Bridge. This offers an amazing view down the Clark Fork River. If you go left you’ll reach the Fish Ladder viewing station. There is a vault toilet on the island. Plus picnic tables, interpretive signs and a trail worth taking all the way around it. It’s the perfect place to leisurely stroll after dinner or early in the morning before heading to breakfast. [b]4. Visit Ross Creek Cedar Grove[/b] Directions from the Falls Motel: L- Highway 200 drive past Trout Creek to Bull River Junction R – Highway 56/Bull River Junction, drive 16.2 miles, look for small forest service sign L – Ross Creek Cedar Road 398, follow road 4.3 miles to parking lot. There are picnic tables available and vault toilets. Pets are welcome on a leash.The Ross Creek Cedars Scenic area is 100 acres in size and is home to cedar trees 1,000 years old. A 0.9 mile long accessible loop trail will lead you along a path with informative signs of the history and ecology of many plant and animal species native to the grove. [b]5. Drive Through the National Bison Range[/b] [url][/url]Directions from the Falls Motel: R – Highway 200, to just past Dixon, MT L – Highway 212 R – Summit Rd, you’ll see the signs directing you the Bison RangePresident Theodore Roosevelt established the National Bison Range on May 23, 1908 when he signed legislation authorizing funds to purchase suitable land for the conservation of bison. The mission of the National Bison Range is to maintain a representative herd of bison, under reasonably natural conditions, to ensure the preservation of the species for continued public enjoyment.Our suggestion is to go to the park early in the morning or later in the evening when the summer heat has cooled off. Bring your camera, bottled water and a desire to slow down and take in the sights. You will see more than Bison on the range…trust us. While there you’ll also learn about and see signs of Glacial Lake Missoula. [b]6. Bike the Route of the Hiawatha Trail[/b] [url=][/url] ‎ Directions from the Falls Motel: L – Highway 200 L – Prospect Creek Road / Thompson Pass Road / MT Highway 471 (yeah, it’s call 3 different names) Drive over Thompson Pass, past Murray, Idaho to a “T” in the road L – Coeur ‘d Alene River Road – you’ll see signs for Pritchard Tavern L – Sharp turn onto Beaver Creek Road / NF 456– there is a gas at this intersection Drive this road up over Dobson Pass. NF 456 become 9 Mile Creek Road, follow this into town which then become 6th Ave. L – Bank Street, which becomes Residence Street, R - to merge onto I-90 E entering Montana (follow freeway signs) Take I-90 East, Take exit 0 toward Lookout Pass Take the 1st right onto Northern Pacific TrailIt was called one of the most scenic stretches of railroad in the country. When the Milwaukee Railroad was operating, the trains traversed through 11 tunnels and over 9 high trestles, covering a 46 mile route that crossed the rugged Bitterroot Mountains between Idaho and Montana. The "Route of the Hiawatha" is most famous for the long St. Paul Pass, or Taft Tunnel which burrows for 8771 ft. (1.66 miles) under the Bitterroot Mountains at the state line. [b]7. Jump in the Clark Fork River[/b] From the Falls Motel, walk west down Maiden Lane 2 blocks. L – into PPL Power Park, follow sidewalk through the park to a road L – on road, follow down to the power plant where you’ll see a trail head The low water trail takes you to a sandy beach – perfect for a swim. Whether on a kayak, in a boat or canoe, on an inner-tub or simply for a swim the Clark Fork River has great access. It meanders from one end of the county to where it flows into Lake Pend Oreille. [b]8. Fish the Thompson River[/b] Directions from the Falls Motel: R- Highway 200 – drive 5 miles east L – Thompson River RoadFeatured in Field & Stream Magazine, the Thompson River offers great year round trout fishing. Though fishing perfect, it’s still undiscovered meaning you can find peace and solitude as you cast your fly. There are pull outs all along the mainly dirt road.We suggest you bring your camera (with new batteries) as this river offers amazing scenery all year round you’ll want to capture and bring back home with you. [b]9. Go Shopping and Visit the Old Jail Museum[/b] The Old Jail Museum is open from Mother’s Day through Labor Day weekend from 12pm-4pm. The museum is located 1 block from the motel at & Maiden Lane. Each year the Sanders County Historical Society selects a historical theme and designs informational displays that highlight the topic. Past topics include the 1910 Fire, History of Sanders Co. Agriculture, heritage of Education in the region, etc.Thompson Falls offers some great shops and artist co-op to pick up souvenirs of your visit. Sunflower Gallery and Linda’s Montana Gifts are two great options. [b]10. Golf River’s Bend Golf Course[/b] [url][/url]Directions from the Falls Motel: L – Highway 200 R – Blue Slide Road, continue past the Thompson Falls State Park, Veer R at fork in the road Drive approximately .5 mile, turn left before railroad tracks. Look for a small sign pointing the way.This lovely par 36, 9 hole golf course is enjoyed with the Clark Fork River and the Flat Irons as a back drop. The golf course has a club house serving food and beverages. This may be our top ten things to do in the summer months, but to be honest we could have written our top 50 things, but we don’t want to overwhelm our visitors with too many choices. Here are some bullet points on other fun activities there are to enjoy around here: [list] [*]Kayak the Clark Fork [*]Driving Tour of Glacial Lake Missoula [*]Hike to Elk Lake and check out the Vermillion Waterfall [*]4-Wheel to Gem Peak or Eddy Peak Lookouts [*]Attend the Huckleberry Festival and the Sanders County Fair & Rodeo [/list] Please remember wherever you go in Sanders County, what you pack in we ask you pack back out with you!