Tom Beal Park -- easy access alpine
Tom Beal Park is actually a high saddle deep in Clearwater National Forest. A good-condition dirt road leaves from the Lochsa River (pronounced “Lock-saw”) and climbs 3,000 vertical feet in 9 miles to a sublime alpine setting nearly at treeline. Though these mountains – some call them the ‘Little Bitterroot’ – are comparatively low in elevation, they receive tremendous amounts of snow, and the road to Tom Beal Park is rarely drivable all the way until after July 4. This has been a favorite spot for several years now as it is easy to get to yet feels remote. I've found it to be one of the most dependable and easy-to-access summer skiing spots in the area, but later in the summer and early fall, once the snow is all gone, the mountainsides fill with elk and wildflowers.