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U.S. Forest Service

Northern Region Viewing Area


trillium. Trillium. Photo source: Margaret Williams, USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database.

Indain paintbrush. Indian Paintbrush. Photo source: Clarence A. Rechenthin, USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database.

canoeists on the Clearwater Canoe Trail. Clearwater canoe trail. Photo source: U.S. Forest Service.

Indian Paintbrush and penstemon spp. Wildflowers. Photo source: U.S. Forest Service.

Clearwater Canoe Trail

Forest: Lolo National Forest

District: Seeley Lake Ranger District

Description: An exceptional one-to-two-hour canoe trip that flows through a dense willow marsh on an isolated portion of the Clearwater River. Look for the information board at the put-in that has maps of the trail. Expect to see trillium, Indian paintbrush, penstemon, and buttercups in bloom. In addition to wildflowers, this trip is an outstanding opportunity to view many species of bird, dragonflies, turtles, large fish and beaver. It’s a great trip for both kids and adults. The last part of the trip crosses the top of Seeley Lake, so skirt the shore if the wind is strong. A 30-minute return hiking trail winds by the river and wetlands and eliminates shuttle problems. Watch for the white-tailed deer. Brochures about the canoe trail are available at the Seeley Lake Ranger Station.

Viewing Information: Restrooms, trail, trailhead, parking, interpretive signs, and viewing blinds are at this site.

Safety First: Remember to bring personal floatation vests for all passengers in the canoe. Bring sufficient water, and dress appropriately for the weather. Hiking boots are recommended.

Directions: From Seeley Lake, drive four miles north on Montana 83. Turn west at the Clearwater Canoe Trail sign and proceed a short distance to the put-in. The canoe take-out and start of the return trail are at the Seeley Lake Ranger Station, also a short distance from Montana 83.

Ownership and Management: USDA Forest Service, Lolo National Forest, Seeley Lake Ranger District. Seeley Lake Ranger District (map of district boundary) 3583 Highway 83 Seeley Lake MT 59868 (406) 677-2233.

Office hours: Monday-Friday 8:00 - 4:30.

Closest Town: Seeley Lake, Montana.