RATTLESNAKE AREA - SAWMILL/CURRY TRAIL SYSTEM
Elevation gain: 995 feet (from 3,920 feet to 4,915 feet)
Dogs: Prohibited year-round
The Sawmill Gulch-Curry Gulch area was acquired by the Lolo National Forest in 1986 by exchanging land with a private landowner.
A network of trails that has developed over more than a century crisscrosses the area. Some pathways were made by prospectors, settlers and their livestock in the late 1800s. Others are steep skid roads left by woodcutters salvaging timber after the great 1919 fire. Gentler, wider roads were left through timber-harvest areas in the 1960s and 1970s.
You can select a number of routes through this part of the Rattlesnake, depending on your interests, available time and stamina. Just up from the Sawmill Gulch trailhead, you can follow a short loop past an old ranch site. The old Curry Cabin is near a trail farther to the north.
Just south of the Curry Cabin, a trail down Curry Gulch connects with one of two trails that run parallel to Spring Gulch. Either of these Spring Gulch trails will take you to the main travel corridor.
The trail farthest to the north in the Sawmill-Curry System joins Stuart Peak Trail about three miles south of the wilderness boundary. From this intersection, you can continue north toward Stuart Peak or head back down through Spring Gulch.
Depending on what trail you're on, you can enjoy some great views into the Grant Creek area, other parts of the Rattlesnake or the Missoula Valley.
The Sawmill-Curry trailhead is small and has no turn-around space for vehicles with trailers. To get there, go 1.2 miles past the main Rattlesnake trailhead parking area on Sawmill Gulch Road.