Rattlesnake Main Trail #515


Rattlesnake NRA Main Trailhead Sign

Close to Missoula, this trail is popular for day hiking, backpacking, and mountain biking. The trail was an old logging road so it is wide, has a relatively gentle grade for the first 9 miles, and roughly parallels Rattlesnake Creek.

From the main trail, there are many side trails available. The main trail winds through open ground, dry forested areas, and progresses into western larch and Engelmann spruce farther up the drainage.

Beaver dams can often be seen in Rattlesnake Creek about 5 miles up from trailhead. This trail connects to many other trails such as the "Wallman Trail" (see map) and could be made into loops.

At a Glance

Operational Hours: The Rattlesnake South Zone is closed from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Usage: Heavy
Restrictions: Please view our Rattlesnake (RNRAW) Restriction information.
Closest Towns: Missoula, Montana
Water: No drinking water available
Restroom: Accessible restrooms are available at the Rattlesnake main trailhead and horse trailhead.
Information Center: Missoula Ranger District, 406-329-3814

General Information

Directions: From Interstate 90 in Missoula, take the Van Buren Street exit #105 and head north. Van Buren Street will turn into Rattlesnake Drive. Stay on Rattlesnake Drive for approximately 3 miles until you reach the Rattlesnake National Recreation Area entrance. Travel another 0.25 mile and turn left on Sawmill Gulch Road. The trailhead will be on the right after about 0.25 mile.
General Notes: Garbage receptacles and parking are available at the Rattlesnake main trailhead. For details, see the brochure "Rattlesnake National Recreation Area" and map, "Rattlesnake Wilderness and National Recreation Area" in our Maps & Publications section.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information



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Areas & Activities


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  Area/Length : 
18.3 miles

  Latitude : 

  Longitude : 

  Elevation : 
3600 feet - 6920 feet