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Montana's Ancient Red Cedars

A grove of massive cedars in Montana's Kootenai National Forest attracts visitors year-round.

Child between trees, Ross Creek Cedars Scenic Area, Mont., image
Photo credit
Photo: Lynn Donaldson
Photo caption
Magic is easy to find amid the cedars at Ross Creek Cedars Scenic Area.

Kids scamper in and out of giant hollow tree trunks in 100-acre Ross Creek Cedars Scenic Area in the Kootenai National Forest south of Troy, Mont. The grove’s ancient western red cedars grow up to 175 feet tall.

A gentle mile-long trail winds past Englemann spruces, grand firs, wood ferns, and devil’s club, often tracing Ross Creek, a lake-fed stream alive with native cutthroat trout. Trailside signs declare the names of selected tree groups—Fairy Den and Wrestlers, among others. Along the way, benches and interpretive signs give strollers reason to linger.

“It’s just a beautiful spot, used year-round,” says Mark Mason of Kootenai National Forest. “In winter, we maintain the road for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.” (406) 293-6211,

This article was first published in September 2012. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.