Kootenai Falls, MT. (In-between Troy and Libby)
Recently I decided to take the kids out to Kootenai Falls as we had never been there. We grabbed my mom for the trip and headed out. It’s just over a two-hour drive to get there from CDA and thankfully my kids are old enough that we can handle trips like that without too much problem.
The parking for the Falls is right off the highway. It seems more like a rest stop than a place to go to see a waterfall, but it was quite convenient. There is a picnic area and small concessions stand and a couple of bathrooms.
You begin the trail winding through some pretty forest and then crossing a bridge that takes you over some train tracks. Continuing down a couple flights of stairs you walk a short distance until you reach a sign saying Kootenai Falls to the right and Swinging Bridge to the left.
We decided to hit the Falls first and walked the short distance to the falls. And man! What a view! Across the river you could see animal trails on the mountains but the falls took my breath away. Because of the layered rock under the water there are many little mini falls which then fall into several large falls where the river divides and flows around other islands in the water. My kids found a tree to climb and we snapped a ton of photos of the water. With the varying levels of rock, it is a place that would be worth seeing at different times of the year.
We walked down a small trail near the water, the small trail is doable but filled with loose shards of rock so you want to watch your step and be careful with little ones. Climbing up a bit we found ourselves at the top of the falls and got to play in the water a bit. Mostly we dipped our feet in. There are some nice shallows but also some swift moving water so it’s important to watch where you are playing.
After playing at the falls we headed for the swinging bridge. This was about a third of a mile from the sign and was a lot of fun. You have to be patient as only five people are allowed on the bridge at one time and is really only wide enough for one. Each side must take turns crossing. But eventually we made our way across the river and found a nice small beach to rest at. It was so relaxing there. We played in the water a bit and listened to the river flowing past. We found some cool rocks and again played in the water. After we were done messing around we went back to the trail. You can continue on the trail to meet up with some other hikes but we headed back to the car. Of course, on the way we climbed more rocks, ledges and trees.
Once back at the rest site we stopped to eat the picnic lunch we had packed. There are some nice picnic tables to eat at and we picked the one that had a carved wooden bear sitting at it. All because my daughter loves bears. :) The concession stand has water and snacks but most of the snacks are sugary and would be considered junk food. After eating hopped back in the car an headed back to CDA. If you haven’t been out to Kootenai Falls, it is well worth the drive.
I love spending time with my family doing all the wonderful activities in the Inland Northwest.