Fish, bird-watch, stroll to a waterfall, and hike in a sweet state park in mountainous southwestern Montana.
Don’t forget to bring binoculars to Lost Creek State Park, a 502-acre spread of wild country about 10 miles from Anaconda, Mont., off State Highway 1. You’ll want to get a closer look at the jagged 1,200-foot limestone cliffs shot through with picturesque bands of pink and white granite. They rise above a boulder-strewn valley shaded by lodgepole pine, Douglas fir, and quaking aspen.
The cliffs, 1.3 billion years old, are home to mountain goats and bighorn sheep, both occasionally spied grazing on the crags. And keep your binoculars ready for downy woodpeckers and Clark’s nutcrackers during a five-minute stroll on the short paved trail to Lost Creek Falls, a 50-foot cascade that tumbles over fractured bedrock.
For more expansive sights, follow Lost Creek Trail into Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest. The path trends uphill for five miles, offering panoramas of the rugged Flint Creek Range, site of Montana’s first gold strike.
Not a hiker? Fish the creek for brook trout or settle into one of the 25 campsites. Lost Creek opens for the season on May 1. (406) 542-5500, stateparks.mt.gov/parks/visit/lostCreek.
This article was first published in March 2012. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.