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Montana Birding and Nature Trail
Discover the Nature of Montana...

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Lolo Pass and Visitor Center

Camas Wildflower Meadows

High-elevation Packer Meadows and Forests

Harboring a combination of plant and animal species you won't find anywhere else in the world.

Lolo Pass and Visitor Center Site Map

Download Printable Version of Site Information

"the quawmash is now in blume and from the colour of its bloom at a short distance it resembles lakes of fine clear water, so complete is this deseption that on first sight I could have swoarn it was water."
Lewis, June 12, 1806, Weippe Prairie

Field Notes

Violet-green and tree swallows swoop over blue camas in Packer Meadows each June. Varied thrushes trill from the high-elevation forests of Engelmann spruce and subalpine fir, also home to white-crowned sparrows and Townsend's warblers. Clark's nutcrackers and Steller's jays swoop from tree to tree. In winter, cross-country skiers glide over the tracks of moose. After dusk, it's possible to hear the howls of wolves and the hoots of boreal owls.

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Habitat Link

Wolves need big country with plentiful game. That's why wolf packs sometimes cross over Lolo Pass. Wolves were first reintroduced in this area in 1995 and 1996. The home range size of a wolf pack in Idaho is 364 square miles.

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Cultural Link

The Nez Perce still go to Packer Meadows today to harvest the roots of camas for food. Lolo Pass was known to the Nez Perce as the Trail to the Buffalo, and to the Bitterroot Salish as the Trail to the Nez Perce.
The Lewis and Clark Expedition camped at Glade Creek at the edge of the meadows. Linger at the new visitor center to learn more about the Expedition, the 1877 flight of the Nez Perce, and local natural history.

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Viewing Tip

Come in June for best wildflower viewing - like camas, glacier lilies, trillium and shooting stars. Boreal owls hoot for mates in February - a chance to combine evening cross-country skiing with owling. Best birding in spring and summer is around the visitor center and Packer Meadows (1.5 mile east of the visitor center on Forest Road 373).

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Helpful Hint

Lolo Pass offers groomed trails for cross-country skiing and snowmobiling, separating the uses. In summer, follow trails from the visitor center.

Visitor center hours:
Spring/Summer: Memorial Day weekend through September. 7 days a week from 8:30 am - 3:30 pm.
Winter: (fee) December 1 through March, Friday - Monday, 9:00am - 4:00pm.
Lolo Pass offers groomed trails for cross-country skiing and snowmobiling, separating the uses. In summer, follow trails from the visitor center.

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Getting There

From the Montana side, turn west onto Highway 12 at Lolo. Drive 32 miles to the Idaho/Montana border. The visitor center is on left at top of Lolo Pass.

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Contact

Powell Ranger District Clearwater National Forest
c/o Lolo, MT 59847; (208) 942-3113

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