South Meadow Lake

Scout Route
5/5 (1 reviews)

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South Meadow Lake is a challenging out-and-back trail in the Tobacco Root Mountains. The trail consists of a packed dirt base covered with rocks, ranging from sparse large rocks in the dirt to entirely covering the trail. The most difficult obstacle is a rock field that takes up roughly the last half mile of the trail. A longer wheelbase vehicle, such as a crew cab short bed Tacoma on 33s, will likely bounce the frame off rocks in this section, especially on the way down the trail. The same vehicle on smaller than 33-inch tires would be at risk of getting high-centered in the rock field. Rock sliders and/or a locker are recommended. The majority of the trail is a one-vehicle-wide shelf road along the mountainside. About halfway up the trail, the ruins of the Missouri-Mckee Mill can be explored, although there is not much left of the structures. This trail was featured briefly in Motor Trend's Ultimate Adventure 2020. Once past the rock field, the trail ends on the bank of the lake. There is a levee that can be driven across, and there are several primitive campsites on the lake's southeast end. The lake is usually great for fishing, and due to the difficulty of the trail, it is unusual to have to share the area with another group. Aside from the campsites at the lake, there is also an area near the mill ruins with campsites. Because the valley looks southeast, the sunrise from the lakeside campsite is spectacular. The Tobacco Root Mountains are known for bear and big cat sightings, so be prepared for an encounter. Properly store your food overnight.