Nestled in the embrace of Cedar Mountain in the Madison Range of Montana’s southern Lee Metcalf Wilderness, Cedar Falls is a difficult landmark for tourists to reach and are preserved for only the most intrepid hikers to explore.
Cedar Falls, Madison County Stats
- Elevation: 9361 feet
- Longitude: -111.51725
- How to Get There: Following the foot trail from the end of Cedar Creek Road near Jeffers, visitors to the falls will have to leave the path about halfway through the hike. Upon reaching the fork in Cedar Creek, hikers will begin to follow the unpathed waters headed south to Cedar Mountain, where they will find a lake and Cedar Falls, Montana.
Tucked away in the rugged confines of the Madison Mountain Range, the only way to reach Cedar Falls is through a long and rigorous hike through the mountainous landscape.
Visitors to the falls should be warned that this region of Montana’s Lee Metcalf Wilderness should only be undertaken by experienced hikers, as most of the journey to the falls is along unmaintained trails and unmarked paths.
Following Cedar Creek for the length of the journey to the falls, hikers to the landmark will have plenty of fishing opportunities both along the way and at their final destination.
In Cedar Creek, Wranglers can expect to catch diverse species of Brown Trout, Longnose Dace, and Mottled Sculpin.
Meanwhile, Cedar Lake, which lies only a small distance past Cedar Falls, features the native Yellowstone and West slope Cutthroat Trout Species.
This fishing spot is reserved for only recreational use, as both species of Cutthroat Trout are protected as the official State Fish of Montana and are required to be released when caught.
Considering that the out and back trail to the falls is at least 17 miles from the beginning of the course (35 miles for those walking from Jeffers), visitors should expect their journey to require a multi-day hike.
Luckily, there are plenty of fantastic camping spots along Cedar Creek, with guests welcome to pitch their tent and engage in fun camping activities.
Since the region is part of Gallatin National Forest, camping permits are required for those looking to spend the night in the preserve. Therefore, visitors should apply for their permits before embarking on the hike.
Cedar Falls via Foot Trail from Cedar Creek Road
From Jeffers, visitors to the falls will either drive or hike 9.8 miles to the end of Cedar Creek Road to the southeast of the town.
From here, guests will find a small foot trail leading out towards the mountainscape. Following this path for 4.6 miles, hikers will pass by three branching creeks as they receive views of Fan Mountain and Cedar Mountain West on either side.
Upon the fourth break in the creek, hikers will leave the trail behind and attempt a water crossing as they follow the new tributary about 1 mile south, where they will come to yet another forking water stream.
Following the creek for approximately 2 miles further, hikers will finally arrive at the beautiful Cedar Falls and the wider Cedar Lake.
Here hikers can rest along the banks of the water as they fish, camp, or just relax in the quiet ambiances of the wilderness, far from any interference from human communities.
When visitors have had their share of the landmark, they can head back along the trail to the starting point in Jeffers.
In total, the hike is approximately 35 miles round trip from the town but can be completed as a 15-mile hike if visitors have a ride to and from the end of Cedar Creek Road.
Overall, the venture to the landmark should not be undertaken without a degree of preparation and, even then, should only be engaged by experienced hikers.