Getting ThereFrom Noxon, Montana go north on Highway 56 for 16 miles and turn east onto South Fork Bull River Road #410. Continue for ~2 Miles and continue right on #410 for one more mile to Road #2722 (Northeast). From here is is about another two miles to the trail head.
The road was well maintained in fall 2006 and a car could have easily made it to the trailhead.
Trail #972 to Snowshoe Lake is a mixed bag of well maintained trail and over grown manway. All together the trail is about 5 miles one way with an elevation gain of around 2700 ft. The first 3 miles to Verdun Creek is very well maintained and well built. The trail rises slowly following the North Fork of the Bull River and you should be able to make good time. At Verdun Creek the trail becomes a manway for the next 2 miles. The path was always clearly visible, but there was plenty of Manzinita, Hucklyberry and Alder growing across the path. Most hikers had done their part in helping to keep the vegetation in check and someone had even cut out many of the alder thickets. The most difficult part of the hike was at the head wall of the North Fork drainage, which rises about 300 feet and offers no easy way up. The manway leads directly to the rock outcropping in the picture to the left and there is a faint trail switchbacking up the rock. It is a steep climb and I don't know if I would attempt it with a full pack in the rain. After the head wall it is a short 200 yards up to Snowshoe Lake.
Once at Snowshoe Lake, we found 3 campsites. The first campsite is probably the least desireable, but has room for 1-2 tents and a good rock to cook on. The second campsite is about half way around the north side of the lake and offers the most room, if you have a large party. There was enough room for three large tents and a good fire ring and you are close to water. The final camp site is the best all around site. Located at the East end of the lake, it offers the shortest approach to the summit as well as the most ammenities. The camping pad very close to the water and has a couple of benches and tables around a very nicely built fire ring. It's one draw back is that the tent pad is only big enough for a single tent.
Snowshoe Peak Summit
From Snowshoe lake there is a foot path leading up the basin toward Snowshoe Peak. We chose to stay to the right hand side of the bowl going up and found an easy route through a cute. This route may be impassable early in the year due to snow. Once on the ridge between Snowshoe Peak and Scotty Peak we kept just to the south side of ridge. The route is steep and has loose talus, but has limited exposure. It is about a half a day scramble from the Lake to the summit and back to Snowshow Lake. I would estimate 3 to 3.5 and about 3000 vertical feet.
Essential GearIn early season I would recommend crampons and ice axe. In late summer no special climbing gear is required. Be equiped to cross lots of loose shale.
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