Lolo NF and Lee Metcalf NWR

Bighorn sheep in Lolo National Forest.

The first item on the agenda was to drive through the Lolo National Forest.  I had planned on us driving the forest service roads and doing a loop back through the mountains.  We went on Rock Creek Road off of Route 90 to go to the bighorn sheep viewing area which is supposed to be located about 5 miles south with a parking lot and restrooms.  We started looking near the 5 mile mark and continued on through the 6 mile mark and couldn’t find a parking lot.  We were trying to figure out where we might see the sheep when we saw one up ahead in the middle of the road.  There were others nearby in a grassy field and some up on the slope.  The ones highest up had a few babies with them.  We have yet to see an adult male bighorn sheep on this trip.  They generally wander far and wide in the summer and we haven’t been fortunate enough to see one in our traveling.

Bighorn sheep on Rock Creek Road in Lolo National Forest. It looks like these sheep are in the middle of shedding.

Once the pavement ended, the road was in terrible shape.  We tried to drive for about a mile and decided it wasn’t worth it.  Dart was miserable.  The road was narrow with no room to turn around, so we had to drive until there was a little more space.  When we got there, we let Dart out to stretch his legs and beg his forgiveness when we were pleasantly surprised to see a Western Tanager.

Western tanager (Piranga ludoviciana)
Mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) in Lolo National Forest.
Rock Creek Road in Lolo National Forest. It was no fun to drive on this. There were more potholes than road surface.

Our next stop was the Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge which is about 20 miles south of Missoula.  There was lots of birds and other wildlife to see.  At one point when I got out of the car to check out some birds, I almost stepped on a snake.  I felt like I was back in Florida!

Common gartersnake (Thamnophis sirtalis) I almost stepped on in Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge.
Male turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) in Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge.
Painted turtle (Chrysemys picta) in Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge.
Columbian ground squirrel (Urocitellus columbianus) in Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge.

3 Comments on “Lolo NF and Lee Metcalf NWR

  1. Linda: This is the best turkey photo I’ve ever seen. Wow!!!!!
    Looks like your having a great trip and went at the best time.
    Steve in Palencia

    Liked by 1 person

    • Regis beat me on that one. His photo was better than mine. We’re having a great time and I am picking up new birds.


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