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Rock Creek Falls, Powell County

Rock Creek Falls in Powell County Montana is located west of the town of Deer Lodge. This small waterfall is just above Rock Creek Lake and Dam which are part of the Rock Creek Cattle Company.

Accessing Rock Creek Falls is an adventure on its own. The road to the trailhead is not well maintained and can vary in condition from smooth gravel to heavily rutted and rocky.

The adventurous hiker that is brave enough to travel the road will want to have a 4WD vehicle with higher than normal clearance. The 12 miles to the trailhead will take you a good amount of time to travel. Expect to encounter wildlife and cattle along the road.

The falls are situated just about one mile from the start of the Trasks Lake Trail. The trail follows very closely with Rock Creek so the falls will be easy to find.

Rock Creek Falls, Powell County

Make sure that you stay on the trail as the Trask Lakes Trail is located right on the border between Forest Service land and private property. Respect the private landowners and only hike on designated Forest Service lands.

mountain basin echo peak beaverheaddeerlodge

Rock Creek Falls Statistics

  • Elevation: 6,073 feet
  • Height: 35 feet (11 meters)
  • Trailhead: Trask Lakes Trailhead
  • Season (when can it be accessed): June to September

Things to Do Near Rock Creek Falls

Rock Creek Falls are located in the central part of the state within the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest. There are plenty of recreational activities that can be enjoyed while visiting the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest and the Deer Lodge, MT area.

Hiking

hiking

There are a number of hiking trails in the Deer Lodge area that are popular with hikers. The Pioneer mountains have plenty of peaks that one can summit on foot.

Peaks that are accessible in the area of Rock Creek Falls include Pikes Peak West, East Goat Mountain, Deer Lodge Mountain, and Mount Powell.

Camping

camping

There are a few places to camp in the Deer Lodge area that are convenient if you are wanting to hike to Rock Creek Falls.

South of Deer Lodge and Rock Creek you can find nice camping at the Racetrack Campground which is operated by the US Forest Service. This campground has plenty of amenities and is a good spot for tents and RVs.

If you are looking for something more secluded there is plenty of dispersed camping on forest service lands. For the backpackers, there are some nice spots to camp around the Trask Lakes area.

To access these lakes, continue along the trail from Rock Creek Falls.

Fishing

fishing

Rock Creek is a good spot for fly fishing if you don’t mind doing a bit of trailblazing to get to the creek from the trail.

This quiet stream is home to brook and rainbow trout. Because this area is a bit challenging to access, you’ll find that Rock Creek is not overfished and there are still larger-sized trout to be caught.

Trask Lakes and Rainbow Lake in the same area are also great fishing locations. These lakes, like Rock Creek, have robust, natural populations of brook and rainbow trout.

If you would like to fish while visiting Rock Creek Falls, make sure to purchase your fishing license online through the Montana Department of Fish Wildlife and Parks.

Can You Swim at Rock Creek Falls

There is a small pool at the base of Rock Creek Falls that can be used for swimming or at least wading, though it is not advised.

Do keep in mind that the falls are very close to privately owned property so you’ll want to be mindful of where you are swimming or wandering when at Rock Creek Falls.

Rock Creek is fed from snow melt so the water can be quite chilly, especially in the springtime. Also, be aware of high stream flows during the spring run-off.

This can make swimming and wading in Rock Creek near Rock Creek Falls dangerous.

Where to Stay Near Rock Creek Falls

The most accessible place to stay if you are looking to hike to Rock Creek Falls is Deer Lodge, MT. This sleepy community has a number of options for camping and hotels.

For visitors that enjoy camping the best places to camp include the Racetrack Campground which is operated by the US Forest Service or the Indian Creek Campground in Deer Lodge. The Indian Creek Campground is a nice, full-service RV park that has full hookups and can accommodate a variety of rig sizes.

For those visiting Rock Creek Falls that are looking for a more comfortable place to stay, there are four hotels in the Deer Lodge Area.

The Travelodge is the one chain hotel in town, the other three are locally owned and operated. The Vonnie Louise Inn is a charming bed and breakfast style hotel that is located in a historic home in Deer Lodge. Other hotels and motels near Rock Creek Falls include:

Trail Routes Near Rock Creek Falls

trail routes near rock creek falls
Image: James St. John

There are two popular hikes near Rock Creek Falls that can be easily accessed by visitors to the area. For more challenging hikes, consider less frequently used trails that allow you to summit some of the area’s higher peaks.

Trask Lakes

The Trask Lakes Trail takes you from Rock Creek Lake to a small lake chain in the heart of the Flint Creek Range. The hike to the Trask Lakes follows Rock Creek. Rock Creek Falls are passed in the first mile of the hike.

Along the trail, you’ll have nice views of Deer Lodge Mountain, Mount Powell, East Goat Mountain, and Racetrack Peak.

The lakes are popular for fly fishing thanks to natural populations of trout. The trail is 15.8-miles out and back, and takes approximately 7 hours to complete. The hike is moderately challenging. The drive to the trailhead is quite challenging, however.

Dolus Lakes Trail

This 6.6-mile out and back trail is a moderately challenging trail that follows along Dolus Creek to the Dolus Lakes. These pretty lakes are set at the end of the valley and are a nice place to enjoy a picnic or snack.

The hike passes through some very nice alpine meadows which are great for wildflower viewing in the summer.