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Unpaved creekside road.

Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge.
Photo courtesy Montana Office of Tourism.

Into the Valley

Remote majesty

If you’re up for more adventure, new country and remote, fabulous scenery, then head for the Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge.

It is 18 miles from the junction at Lima Reservoir to the little burg of Lakeview, which is primarily occupied by refuge workers and a curious entity known as the International Center For Earth Concerns. Google it if that kind of thing turns your crank.

Running along the valley floor is the Red Rock River and Lower and Upper Red Rock Lakes. For a wildlife refuge, we saw little wildlife, but then we were more intent on bike and road than eyeballing for critters. We did see what appeared to be a group of Trumpeter Swans in a marshy area.

The scenery to the north side of the valley is big and open range with foothills leading to the Snowcrest and Gravelly Mountains, while to the south is the Centennial Range and Baldy Mountain with its still present, but diminishing, glaciers.

The road surface in August of 2010 was even, smooth and hard – no ruts, no excessive loose material, no mud or washes. My wife’s Corolla would have been perfectly at home. We encountered other vehicles maybe only every 20 minutes or so.

By Cole Boehler
the author and publisher of
"Motorcycling Montana"