Trail Map of Magruder Corridor Guide

The Magruder Corridor (Montana Road) from the Red River Ranger Station, Nez Perce National Forest, Idaho to Darby MT.

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Overview
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Magruder Corridor Guide
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Moderate: 181 miles, Multiple days
Other Information: Family Friendly
Dog Friendly
 
Overview: The Magruder Road Corridor extends 95 miles through a vast undeveloped area, offering solitude and pristine beauty, as well as expansive views of the Bitterroot and Clearwater Mountains. It has been known as the Southern Nez Perce Trail, Elk City to Darby Road, Montana Road, and the Parker Trail.

The road enables a traveler to drive along a corridor between Wildernesses nearly twice as large as the combined states of Delaware and Rhode Island. To the north is the 1.2 million acre Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness and to the south the 2.2 million acre Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness.

This is probably one of the wildest roads in the United States. Its unspoiled beauty cannot be surpassed, as the landscape is much the same as when the Nez Perce Indians and early travelers crossed the area.

The Magruder Road (Forest Road #468) is a single-lane mostly unimproved road which is rocky, steep and winding, with few turnouts for passing oncoming vehicles. The road is not recommended for low-clearance vehicles, motor homes, or vehicles towing trailers. The video in POI #35 (Hell's Half Acre Lookout Road #224) shows typical road conditions that you may expect. The road traverses a vast, remote, and rugged area. Travelers should take adequate provisions and make sure their vehicles are in good condition. Don't run out of gas!

Options on how to visit this area will depend on your individual choices. Starting in either Idaho or Montana will be the first decision. Staying in a hotel, cabin, RV, or tent are all possible in this area. The type of vehicle or the amount of time you want to spend hiking trails into the Wildernesses will also be factors. Just driving the road in a high clearance vehicle will take 8 to 10 hours.

The mountain bikers we met on the trail were being followed by a 4X4 bag wagon carrying their camping gear. ATVs and motorcycles are limited by the amount of fuel and camping gear they can carry. The Burnt Knob LO will require a 4X4 or a willingness to hike uphill for about 1 1/2 miles.

The road from the Montana side is OK for ATV and horse trailers to the Magruder Ranger Station and Selway River and might be considered as part of your planning. RVs can access the Fales Flat Campground from the Montana side of the corridor.

Whatever your choices, this trip will require multiple days. Take your time and enjoy it.

There is no cell phone service in this area.

The mileage figures in the POIs from the Red River Ranger Station to Darby, MT do not include any side trips off FR 468. The mileage figures were obtained from the USFS.

Contact numbers are in the Elk City and West Fork Ranger Station POIs in this guide for current road conditions, weather, and other info.

Tips: Depending on the seasons' snowfall, the road is usually clear by July and open through September, sometimes a little longer. It gets cold in October. The elevations in the area vary from 3067' at Paradise Campground to 8196' at Burnt Knob Lookout.

Downed timber can block roads/trails at any time. Much of this area has been burned by forest fires and some type of saw might enable you to continue the trip.

Clothing depends on the weather, but it usually freezes at night all summer. Thunder storms are possible at any time.

Take drinking water with you as none of the ground water in this area is safe to drink without filtering or boiling.

Wild animals, including moose, elk, deer, bear, wolves, cougars, river otters, pine marten, and others are in the area.

Be aware that wolves are very territorial and may attack any dogs with you. Moose cows with calves may attack anything. Don't push your luck with moose! This is also "Bear Country".

Read and abide by the information at the trail heads on how to interact with horses and pack stock you may encounter.

There is no cell phone service in the area.


When we did the trip, we met mountain bikes, motorcycles, ATVs, UTVs, 4X4 trucks, trucks with stock trailers, and a loose string of pack stock. It still was not crowded.
Junction Red River Road with Hwy. 14
Junction
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Elk City & Ranger Station
Information
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Junction FR 1818 with Red River Road
Junction
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Red River Campground
Campground
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Red River Ranger Station (Historic)
Landmark
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Intersection Montana (Magruder) Road (FR #468) & Dixie Road
Junction
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Mountain Meadows
Campground
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14 Mile Tree Trailhead
Campground
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Granite Springs
Campground
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Elk Mountain Rd. #285
Junction
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Green Mountain Lookout
Viewpoint
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Poet Creek
Campground
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Burnt Knob Rd. #468C
Junction
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Burnt Knob Lookout
Viewpoint
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Dry Saddle Trailhead
Campground
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Sabe Saddle
Campground
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Sabe Vista Point
Viewpoint
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Horse Heaven Saddle, Trail #28
Junction
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Horse Heaven Cabin
Campground
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Salmon Mtn Base Camp
Campground
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Salmon Mtn Lookout Trail #705
Junction
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Observation Point
Viewpoint
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Flat Creek Trail #7 & Magruder Sign
Landmark
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Kim Creek Saddle & Trail Head
Campground
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Magruder Bridge & Campground
Campground
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Selway River Junction Rd. #6223
Junction
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Raven Creek Campground
Campground
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Indian Creek Campground
Campground
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Selway River Raft Launch
Viewpoint
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Paradise Campground
Campground
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Road to Magruder Ranger Station
Junction
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Magruder Ranger Station
Landmark
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Deep Creek Campground
Campground
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Pavement Begins
Landmark
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Hell's Half Acre Lookout Road #224
Junction
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Hells Half Acre Lookout
Viewpoint
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Nez Perce Pass
Landmark
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Fales Flat Group Campsite
Campground
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Pavement Ends
Landmark
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Little West Fork Campground
Campground
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Hwy. 473 & Nez Perce (Magruder) Road Junction
Junction
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West Fork Ranger Station
Information
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West Fork Lodge
Hotel
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Conner, Montana
Food/Dining
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Darby, Montana
Hotel
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POIs: numbers | icons