(Mountaineers Books, due out spring 2018)

This new, forthcoming day-hiking guide by guidebook author, freelance writer, and photographer Aaron Theisen, covers a wild swath of western Montana from the Idaho-Montana border to the east side of Glacier and down through the Bitterroot Valley. In addition to the park, the guide includes the Yaak, Cabinets, Whitefish Range, Flathead Range, Swan Range, Missions, Missoula area, Sapphires and the Bitterroots, with a total of 125+ day hikes in all.

When pressed to name-drop a favorite hike from the book, Theisen resisted but eventually relented: “I hate to pick favorites since western Montana is chock-full of amazing hikes, but the 18-mile Dawson-Pitamakan Loop in the Two Medicine area of Glacier National Park should be on everyone’s to-do list. It’s a highlight reel of the Crown of the Continent.” Theisen has been hiking in western Montana for years, and began working specifically on the new book in May 2015, which meant a lot more time in Montana. “I spent about a hundred days in the region in 2016.”

In addition to the alpine larch recommendations in this article, Theisen offered up some good fall hike choices that are easily done in a day from Spokane. “Burdette Creek, in the Fish Creek drainage between I-90 and US-12, goes through an amazing old-growth western larch parkland. Blossom Lakes, up off Thompson Pass, is always a good one for colorful shrubs. Saint Mary Peak, in the Bitterroot Mountains south of Missoula, lights up with larch in late September/early October.” //