Discover the Top 8 Senior-Friendly Walking Trails in Montana

Trail of the Cedars in Glacier National Park, Montana
© Tomas Nevesely/iStock via Getty Images

Written by Joyce Nash

Published: December 1, 2023

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Montana is perhaps most well-known for its rich natural resources and vast areas of pristine wilderness. While there is plenty of rugged territory to explore throughout the Treasure State, but what about less intense trails? Keep reading to learn about the top eight senior-friendly trails in Montana. These hikes are shorter in length, have fewer elevation changes, and offer accessibility features like paved surfaces and benches.

8. Cliff and Wade Lakes Interpretive Trail

Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest

The Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest is situated along the Continental Divide.

©Emily Kerns/Shutterstock.com

Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest is the state’s largest national forest, encompassing over three million acres of land. With vast forests and grasslands, Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest is home to black bears, gray wolves, elk, and wolverines. In addition, the forest contains several areas of historic interest, including aboriginal sites, the Canyon Creek Charcoal Kilns, and routes traveled by early explorers Lewis and Clark. 

Starting at the Hilltop Campground, the Cliff and Wade Lakes Interpretive Trail is a senior-friendly two-mile trail. From the campground, the trail heads downhill and includes displays with information about the area’s geology, natural history, and cultural heritage.

7. Bitterroot Trail

Sunrise over the Bitterroot River in Montana

The Bitterroot Trail offers excellent views of the Bitterroot Valley and River.

©swevers4284/Shutterstock.com

You can take in the sights of the Bitterroot Valley along the 44-mile Bitterroot Trail. This senior-friendly trail has a paved surface and runs from Hamilton to Missoula. The trail passes through a half dozen communities, and some trail segments run alongside the Bitterroot River.

The Bitterroot Trail has modest elevation changes. However, hikers can start the trail in Hamilton near the Angler’s Roost Campground for a mostly downhill trek. The trail is open to bikers, walkers, and people using motorized wheelchairs.

6. White Memorial Loop

Fishing Pier Extending Onto Foys Lake, Kalispell, Montana, USA

Foys Lake is short drive from Lone Pine State Park, making this area a popular spot for outdoor recreation.

©Billy McDonald/Shutterstock.com

Lone Pine State Park contains 7.5 miles of trails with several senior-friendly and accessible trail options like the White Memorial Loop. This trail is an easy 0.3-mile loop connecting the 0.8-mile Cliff Trail and the 1.4-mile Lone Pine Trail.

Additionally, Lone Pine State Park offers visitors the chance to rent an all-terrain wheelchair called the Action Trackchair. This chair can be used by visitors with a documented disability on any Lone Pine trail as long as they have a non-disabled hiking companion. After hiking at Lone Pine State Park, you can head to Foys Lake, just a few miles away, to fish and take in the surrounding views. 

5. Blodgett Canyon Overlook Trail

Hamilton, MT and Sapphire Mountains

The trail to the Blodgett Canyon Overlook is a relatively easy 2.8 mile out-and-back.

©Diogeninja, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons - Original / License

In the southwestern region of the state, the Blodgett Canyon Overlook Trail is a stunning senior-friendly hike. The hike is a 2.8-mile round-trip trek with a modest elevation gain of 400 feet. The trail offers unparalleled views of Blodgett Canyon, which extends for 12 miles with depths of over 2,000 feet. 

The trail includes a set of moderate switchbacks as it winds through forested areas to finally reach a clearing with a viewing area. This trail was first established following a wildfire in 2000, and the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks subsequently installed interpretive displays that explain the role that fire plays in a forest. Additionally, there are benches along the trail to rest and take in the views. 

4. Lion Mountain Trail

Youing female hikers on Lion Mountain Trail near Whitefish, Montana on sunny summer morning.

Located near Whitefish Lake State Park, the

Lion

Mountain Trail is an easy 3-mile hike through a forest.

©Francisco Blanco/Shutterstock.com

Located a short drive from Whitefish Lake and the town of Whitefish, Lion Mountain Trail is a great option for senior hikers who are looking for a comparatively longer trail. This three-mile loop is considered easy and is relatively flat, with only small changes in elevation. The trail cuts a path through a dense forest to arrive at an overview with spectacular views of Skyles Lake below.

3. Travelers’ Rest Interpretive Trail

Autumn hues adorn Lolo Creek in the Lolo National Forest, Montana, USA

The west fork of the Lolo Creek runs through Travelers’ Rest State Park.

©Danita Delimont/Shutterstock.com

At Travelers’ Rest State Park, visitors can explore the only confirmed campsite used by Lewis and Clark on their famous expedition. In 2002, archeologists discovered physical evidence, including fire hearths and a latrine, that are remnants of the Corps of Discovery’s 1805 and 1806 stays in the area.

Travelers’ Rest State Park is located near the confluence of West Fork Lolo Creek and the Bitterroot River and features a museum, an education workshop area, and several senior-friendly trails. The Travelers’ Rest Interpretive Trail winds throughout the park, providing connections to multiple other trails. The Interpretive Trail ventures across Lolo Creek and through Lewis and Clark’s campsite, offering visitors the chance to walk in the footsteps of the intrepid explorers.

2. Ross Creek Cedars

Ross Creek Cedars in Montana

The Ross Creek Cedars Scenic Area encompasses 100 acres in the Kootenai National Forest.

©JStarPhotog/Shutterstock.com

You can take a stroll through 1,000-year-old cedar trees in Montana’s Kootenai National Forest. The Ross Creek Cedars hike is an easy 1-mile loop through a vibrant old-growth forest. During the summer months, the tree canopy is so dense that shade-loving plants like white foam flowers and ferns thrive on the forest floor. In addition, the trail features several informational signs that explain the historical and ecological significance of the native flora and fauna.

1. Trail of the Cedars

Trail of the Cedars in Glacier National Park, Montana

Glacier National Park was named a World Heritage Site in 1995.

©Tomas Nevesely/iStock via Getty Images

Stretching over one million acres, Glacier National Park is one of the few places in the United States where visitors can see glaciers. Two hundred years ago, there were around 80 glaciers in the area, but the number of glaciers has since dwindled to around 26 due to climate change. Despite its shifting landscape, Glacier National Park remains a vital habitat for over 1,000 species of plants and hundreds of species of animals.

The park boasts over 700 miles of hiking trails, including two ADA-accessible trails. The Trail of the Cedars is a 1.5-mile loop that winds through red cedar trees. The trail is a well-maintained boardwalk that is accessible to wheelchairs and strollers. In addition, the Running Eagle Falls Nature Trail is a short loop trail with educational displays providing information about native plants.

Summary of the Top Senior-Friendly Trails in Montana

RankTrailLocation
#1Trail of the CedarsGlacier National Park
#2Ross Creek CedarsKootenai National Forest
#3Travelers’ Rest Interpretive TrailTravelers’ Rest State Park
#4Lion Mountain TrailWhitefish, MT
#5Blodgett Canyon Overlook TrailBlodgett Canyon
#6White Memorial LoopLone Pine State Park
#7Bitterroot TrailHamilton, MT to Missoula, MT
#8Cliff and Wade Lakes Interpretive TrailBeaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest


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About the Author

Joyce Nash is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering travel and geography. She has almost a decade of writing experience. Her background ranges from journalism to farm animal rescues and spans the East Coast to the West. She is based in North Carolina, and in her free time, she enjoys reading, hiking, and spending time with her husband and two cats.

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