Last September, I wrote a post titled “Signs” and mentioned a sign we had seen just after going through a mountain pass named Lolo Pass. The sign stated “winding road next 77 miles.” You may have thought I had written the story in jest, stretched the truth a bit, was downright lying or was telling a tall tale. Well, here it is. Told ya…neener, neener, neener. The sign doesn’t lie. The road winds back and forth and back and forth and …….you guessed it. For 77 miles! Downhill.
Lolo Pass is at an elevation of 5,233 feet (1,595 m). It is a mountain pass in the Bitterroot Range of the northern Rocky Mountaina and is on the border between the states of Montana and Idaho. Route 12, which is that winding road, follows the Lochsa River (pronounced “lock-saw”) for it’s entire length.
You can pull off into one of many vantage points to watch folks in canoes, kayaks plus the white water rafters braving the turbulent water. In the areas of calmer water, you may see folks fishing for trout and salmon. There are several camp grounds along the way, and the area is also known for it’s outstanding hiking trails.
Native Americans used the trail along the river to get to the plains of Montana to hunt bison, as well as to get to the salmon runs in the Columbia River basin, which the Lochsa and it’s tributaries feed into.