1. Rock Creek Headwaters

Blue-ribbon trout waters, legendary hunting, camping, quiet mountain trails and terrific wildlife habitat are the attributes of Rock Creek and its roadless headwaters in the Sapphire, John Long and Pintlar Mountains. In 1959 the state of Montana established Rock Creek as a blue ribbon trout river.  Trout populations jump 1,000 fish per mile below the confluence of Rock Creek in the Clark Fork River. Eighty percent of Rock Creek’s watershed is national forest. The lower and central part of the Rock Creek watershed is managed by the Lolo National Forest, Missoula Ranger District. The upper watershed is managed by the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, Pintlar Ranger District. Both forest plans are being revised. Existing forest plans coordinate conservation of this remarkable fishery and its roadless headwaters.   


“My decision provides for coordinated management and protection of the values present in the
Rock Creek drainage and its blue ribbon trout stream…”
--1986 Record of Decision, Lolo National Forest Plan

Rock Creek is reknowned for its superb trout waters, elk & bighorn hunting, camping, hiking, wildlife and outdoor recreation. The unroaded unspoiled character of the watershed is key to watershed health and vibrant aquatic life and fishery of Rock Creek.

2. Quigg Peak Roadless Area (88,000 acres) in the John Long Mountains borders Rock Creek Canyon for 18 miles, Broad windswept ridges with terrific elk habitat and a fine system of quiet mountain trails. Much of the Quigg Peak roadless area is covered in talus slopes, giving it the local nickname “Sliderock.” The steep roadless slopes above Rock Creek provide excellent winter range for bighorn sheep, elk and mule deer herds.

3. Stony Mountain Roadless Area (108,000 acres) lies West of Quigg in the Sapphire Mountains. This area forms the west bank of Rock Creek for sixteen miles. Tributary streams – Cinnamon Bear, Alder, Hunstpilar, Wyman, Camp, Stony and Duncie pour clear cold flows into Rock Creek. Native bull trout and cutthroat thrive in tributary streams. Mountain goats and large elk herds frequent the high country.

4. Sapphires Wilderness Study Area (117,000 acres) In the headwaters of Rock Creek, the West and Ross Fork, Copper, Moose and Meyer Creeks from the Sapphires WSA join with the East Fork Rock Creek to form the reknowned blue-ribbon trout waters. Twenty lakes nestle in steep circques near the Sapphire Crest. Large elk herds, mountain goats, wolverine, pine marten and superb moose habitat are trademarks. The wild character of the Sapphires WSA was protected by Senator Metcalf in the Montana Wilderness Study Act of 1977, enacted three months before his death.

5. Flint Creek Roadless Area: The rugged roadless heart of the Flint Creek Range is between Deerlodge and Phillipsburg in the upper Clark Fork watershed. The Flints rise over a mile above the Clark Fork Valley, capped by Mount Powell at 10,300 feet.  Twenty-five high mountain lakes provide popular trail destinations in the Flints.

6. Anaconda-Pintlar Roadless Lands:  More than three dozen glistening mountain lakes and tarns lie in the shadows of a string of rugged 10,000 + foot peaks along the backbone of the Continental Divide. Dizzying heights provide a haven for golden eagle and mountain goats, pika and bighorn sheep. Cutthroat trout hunt the shallows of deep-blue glacial lakes. There is no finer place to take kids fishing or camping. The popular “Watershed Project” spearheaded by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Anaconda hunters returned lands in this area to public ownership that were long ago sold to the Anaconda Company.