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Pinkham Creek Falls, Lincoln County

Pinkham Creek Falls can be found tucked into a gorge within the scenic northwest region of Montana. The falls are located in the small community of Rexford on Highway 37 in the region of Lake Koocanusa.

This is around 6 miles from the much larger Eureka in Lincoln County, and the local population here tends to favor the falls as a recreation spot.

The Pinkham Creek Falls is one of the state’s lesser-known waterfalls and can be accessed via a reasonably short, although slightly steep and undeveloped trail leading right down to them. At elevations over 3,000 feet, this is a rugged and natural area—not to mention incredibly scenic.

The falls plunge dramatically in two cascades into the creek, and whether you are a major fan of waterfalls or not, the short but slightly challenging hike up (and down) to these falls is well worth the effort.

You will realize this immediately once you get a glimpse of the two waterfalls—the upper and lower falls—which measure around 20 feet and 15 feet respectively and feature at either end of the impressively picturesque gorge that is home to the Pinkham Creek Falls.

pinkham falls, lincoln county
Image: Troy Smith

Getting to Pinkham Creek Falls

pinkham creek falls
Image: Troy Smith

A certain amount of heavy use has meant that the dirt roads and paths leading to and around the falls have become somewhat eroded. Many would consider that the area is for semi-skilled or skilled hikers—something you would have to judge for yourself if you are in the area.

It takes most people on average somewhere between half and one hour to cover the trail to the falls and back. With the steep grade and a fair amount of loose gravel-type conditions, the potentially hazardous canyon rim should be approached with care.

This is within the regions of the scenic Kootenai National Forest, and the trailhead to get to the falls is not an official, designated one, so there are no signs and private land surrounds much of the terrain.   

You will initially begin to walk along a somewhat rutted dirt track through the forest terrain of Ponderosa Pine and Douglas Firs. The path will begin to bend right and this is where it steepens and descends down a switchback.

As you descend down the creek you may notice a few scattered, undeveloped campsites and a path that leads down a short stretch to Upper Pinkham Falls.

You’ll have to head upstream, crossing the stream and negotiating a few rocks here and there if you want to get down to the lower falls.

You should be able to locate another path leading to the rim of the gorge and you’ll see the Lower Pinkham Falls cascading 15-foot or so into a reasonably deep pool at the end of the gorge.   

Camping near Pinkham Creek

You wouldn’t be the first to stop off in this area for a casual visit and then want to stay for a little while. If that’s the case there is plenty of undeveloped camping around the region of the falls.

One of the most well-known and established campgrounds is perhaps the 8-site Camp 32, which is located in an open field 15 miles to the southwest of Eureka off Pinkham Creek Road 7182. The campground features tables, fire rings, vault toilets, potable water, and space for RVs.

Camp 32 was in fact a logging camp for a couple of years in the mid-20s, with the land eventually being acquired from one of the region’s early homesteaders. Amazingly this is a no-fee campground, accessible year-round, although various amenities are limited off-season.

You can find Camp 32 by heading out from Eureka along Highway 37 southwest for just over 10 miles or so. Then you should take a left onto forest road 7182, following it for approximately 2.5 miles right up to the campground entrance.

Dump facilities, as well as other amenities like laundry, gas, or other supplies, can be accessed in nearby Trout Creek. There are also alternative nearby dump facilities at the much more developed Rexford Bench Campground near Lake Koocanusa. 

Conclusion

The Pinkham Falls, in many ways, qualifies as one of the endless ‘hidden treasures’ within the scenic state of Montana. This is due in no small part to the fact that it is much lesser-known to any potential visitors than some of the state’s more obvious attractions.

Certainly, the falls are treasures in the eyes of the locals and others from out of town who have found them. This type of lesser-known falls—and the area in general—tend to hold a certain quality and charm often lost within the tourist crowds at some of the larger spots in Montana.

These waterfalls and some of the other stunning natural features of the area are appealing to anyone who is remotely an outdoor type seeking a wonderfully-pleasant experience.

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