Hamilton’s Blodgett Campground, Trail and Pass – Open Again
The popular Blodgett Campground west of Hamilton and Blodgett Creek Trail have been closed for a week because of the Sawtooth Fire on Downing Mountain. Also, the trail over Blodgett Pass - 11 miles west on the Montana-Idaho border - has been closed since a 2010 rockslide.
Not any more.
The Bitterroot National Forest Wednesday opened the campground, trail and pass to the public. The managers of the Sawtooth Fire were satisfied that the campground and trail could be re-opened. And the Blodgett Pass blockage has been removed, thanks to work this summer by the Montana Conservation Corps.
The slide near the top of the pass had completely destroyed sections of the trail. Officials estimate over 325 tons of granite crashed down. The crews, with the assistance of Bitterroot National Forest personnel have moved the rocks by hand, by rigging and by blasting. Some of the material was used to re-build portions of the trail, according to Bitterroot Public Affairs Officer Tod McKay. He noted in a press release that retaining walls, water bars and check dams were built to minimize erosion. The work was funded by the Ravalli County Resource Advisory Committee (RAC).
Blodgett Pass allows access to many of the backcountry trails of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness. It was mentioned in the semi-autobiographical book "A River Runs Through It and Other Stories" by Norman Maclean.
Though the campground, trail and pass are open, McKay reminds the public that the canyon still has smoke from thousands of acres of wildfires in the area.