I'll clue you in on a little-known secret. For some arcane reason lookouts always seem to be built in places with amazing vistas, and the Medicine Point Lookout in no exception. In fact, the views are so stellar I'd even be tempted to leave the bike at home and hike it.
Beyond the lookout, the trail becomes more rudimentary and you are rewarded with a classic Bitterroot adventure ride with primitive trails, steep pushes, and some mild trail-finding skills.
Start by parking at the pullout just before the Crazy Creek Campground. I suppose you could park at the junction of FS 370 and Crazy Creek FS 5730
, but if you are worried about shaving off a few miles of road this probably isn't the trail for you.
Ride up FS 370 to Bear Creek Saddle and continue on Laird Creek FS 5731
. Ride up to the trailhead, it will be obvious. Start climbing the Medicine Point Lookout Trail FS 181
. It may look intimidating on maps with all the zig-zags, but don't let that dissuade you, it rides much better than would be expected. There will be a few times you'll need to get off and push, but they are infrequent. Along the way, check out the rock work on the switchbacks, impressive.
At the ridge top, turn right for a detour over to the lookout. Have a snack. Snap some photos for Instagram. Retrace your pedal strokes and this time head south on Shook Mountain - Medicine Point FS 600
. Past the lookout, the trail becomes significantly more primitive with less maintenance. Cruise up and down along the ridge and take it mellow. The downhills are littered with ballbearing degenerate granite crumbs.
After a last hike-a-bike push, the trail seems to disappear on a grassy knoll. You'll see the Wiles Peak FS 56 trailhead off to the west (right), but the trail you want contours around the southeast side (left). Once you get there, you should see the sign and trail.
The descent isn't exactly fast or flowy, and there is lodgepole regrowth that is now just the perfect height for snagging handlebars. In places, the trail has become indistinct. Still the last time I rode, I had a smile on my face and found the trail quite enjoyable and satisfying, but then again years of riding in the Bitterroot may have warped my idea of fun.
Take Crazy Creek FS 5730
back to FS 370. A little past the parking area, closer to the campground, there is a hand pump that will reward you with cool fresh water, assuming you didn't bring beer.
History & Background
Medicine Point Lookout is available for rent if you want a fun introduction to bikepacking. It has cots, stoves for cooking and heating and a spring nearby for water. All you need is some food, fuel and sleeping bag.
Shared By: Lance Pysher