Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
1,430.00 ft (435.86 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
6.20 mi (9.98 km)
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The Ravine Creek Trailhead is an often overlooked access point to the expansive Rattlesnake National Recreation Area in Missoula’s backyard. This trailhead is a fair driving distance from the main Rattlesnake Trailhead near Rattlesnake Creek. The two are more commonly connected by foot travel. 

The trailhead is in the quiet Grant Creek neighborhood of Missoula, accessible by continuing north on Reserve Street past Interstate 90. The parking area is small and accommodates 4-6 vehicles. It’s mainly used as a neighborhood trail, and most days it’s not a challenge to find parking spots. The evenings after work and the weekends see the most traffic. 

At approximately 3.0 miles, the Ravine Creek Trail connects to the vast network of trails in the Rattlesnake and provides the most direct route to Stuart Peak - one of the most iconic mountains of the area. The trail begins by traversing through private property before hitting the national forest boundary.  

The route isn’t long, but it chugs steady uphill the entire way. The trail ascends over 1,400 feet in less than three miles, with switchbacks defining much of the route. A few valley views are afforded along the way, but much of the landscape is dominated by lush Douglas firs that define the region.  

At the top of Ravine Creek Trail, users can continue on the Rattlesnake trail system to explore further. Users will want to head left to continue hiking up to the Snowbowl Overlook Trail. Less than a quarter-mile from the top of the Ravine Creek Trail, a rocky promontory opens a view of the Grant Creek Valley below and the nearby Montana Snowbowl ski resort. 

From there, hikers also can connect with the Stuart Peak Trail for a demanding day hike or overnight backpacking adventure. The trip up to the 7,960-foot peak via Ravine Creek Trail is an 18-mile round trip with over 4,000 feet of elevation gain. Overnight camping is available near Stuart Peak, as the last bit of the approach enters the Rattlesnake Wilderness. 

The trip down Ravine Creek Trail is similar to the trip up. Expect more momentum on the switchbacks on the way down. The Ravine Trail is a popular route for mountain bikers heading either direction, and hikers will want to keep their ears open for riders.

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Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Uncrowded. Quicker route to Stuart Peak. Occasional big views.

Cons

A lot of switchback travel.

Trailhead Elevation

3,951.00 ft (1,204.26 m)

Highest point

5,255.00 ft (1,601.72 m)

Features

Wildlife
Big vistas
Wildflowers
Bird watching

Typically multi-day

No

Suitable for

Biking

Permit required

No

Location

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Flathead lake + Mission Range, Montana
Flathead lake + Mission Range, Montana

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