Hiked: April 24, 2016
Trailhead: Take I-15 exit 99 (between Dillon and Butte MT) onto Moose Creek Road. Turn East on the very good dirt road for 3.5 miles to the trailhead at road's end.
Services: Outhouse at the trailhead. No potable water. Plenty of surface water requiring treatment.
Stats: 3.44 miles one way trailhead to pioneer cabin ruin. 1273ft total elevation gain. 198ft elevation loss. Easy trail.
The Humbug Spires Trail is an excellent early season hike in Southwestern Montana. Suitable for families and older folks the trail is mostly gradual uphill through fir/lodgepole forest and willow wetland punctuated by granite outcrops popular with area climbers. Though not a wildflower destination, several species, including shooting star and wild strawberry were blooming or preparing to bloom when we hiked this trail two weeks ago.
Elk, mule deer and moose sign are common along the Humbug Spires Trail and I'm sure coyote and black bear are possible to see and well.
We turned our hike around at the ruin of a prospector's cabin about 3.5 miles from the trailhead. If we'd continued farther the trail more or less disperses to nearby granite outcrops frequented by area climbers. It's bushwhacking beyond that point for those so inclined and having appropriate skills.
Novice backpackers or those introducing children to overnighting in the woods could use Humbug Spires Trail as a not-too-far-from-the-car option to hone their skills. Good camping spots show up about 2.5 miles into the hike and continue for another mile or so but be careful of widow-makers as there are a lot of dead trees in the area. Surface water will need treating to make drinkable and remember to practice Leave-No-Trace principals.
Regardless of your age or ability level, Humbug Spires should be on your recreation list. It's versatility, beauty and easy access offer something for everyone.