Favorite Travel Quotes

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts."
-- Mark Twain
Innocents Abroad

"Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey." -- Fitzhugh Mullan

"A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving." -- Lao Tzu

Ross Creek Cedar Scenic Area – Where Trees Tower

©Bert Gildart: The day was absolutely beautiful accented by the nearby lofty peaks from the as yet snow-capped mountains from the Cabinet Mountain Wilderness Area.  But the area we entered contrasted drastically with blue skies and the warm sunny weather of the day.  As we left our truck and began walking the path of the Ross Creek Cedar Grove Scenic Area, this area reflected precipitation and lots of it.  The ground was soggy, and Ross Creek rushed nearby. Water loving and shade tolerant plants carpeted the area, highlighted by the species known as Pine Drops, Hookers Fairy Bells, Queen Cup Bead Lily and Prince’s. But what captivated us more than anything was the immensity – and the species of the trees.


Majesty of cedars


Appropriately, these are cedar trees, huge cedar trees, tress such as one seldom sees in this state so dominated by prairies and by its assemblages of pine, fir and spruce. These trees were also immense, and as interpretive signs pointed out, some towered 175 feet overhead.  They were old and some dated back over 500 years. As well some required five or more people clasping hands, linking arms to circle them, for they measured over eight feet in diameter, making them a logger’s dream.


Ironically, it was local loggers who helped bring about designation of the Ross Creek Cedar Area.  During the late 1950s those who worked to “Save the Cedars,” realized the importance the western red cedar play in overall forest health, and so, in recognition of this special tree, in 1960 the area was designated a state park.

RossCreek-10 RossCreek-8 RossCreek-9

L to R: Prince’s Pine, Queen Cup Bead Lily, Hooker’s Fairy Bells — all growing at base of giant cedars.

Indeed the area is representative of unusual conditions for Montana. Located not far from Troy, considered at an elevation of 1880 feet to lowest point in the state, the area is also located geographically so that it receives more moisture than most other places in the state.


Age allows for unusual growth formations


Each year the region receives about 25 inches of precipitation, meaning it can be categorized as a temperate rainforest.  As such it has produced trees that are ancient by human standards and as such have come to chronicle all the conditions the area has endured for over five centuries. Trees in the area bear evidence of fire, drought, wind, and flood.


Some were used by Native Americans, and interestingly, the forest service campground in which we have parked our Airstream is called Bad Medicine, and it was also used by Indians of the Kootenai tribe.  This same camp was once located in the shadow of a massive rock ledge, and one day it broke covering the area and it occupants.  Though Bad Medicine for some, it has been good medicine for us, essentially because of the beauty contained in the Ross Creek Cedar area, located but a few miles away.



*Alaska’s Chena Hot Springs


One Response to “Ross Creek Cedar Scenic Area – Where Trees Tower”

  1. Josephine Says:

    The cedars is a lovely untouched place, if no “green” environmentalists get wind of it it will stay that way.

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