Montana Native Plant Society, Calypso Chapter
Calypso Chapter serves Southwest Montana including the greater Dillon - Butte - Deerlodge areas. For more information, contact:
P.O. Box 320046
Glen MT 59732
Deer Lodge MT 59722
Activities and Trips:
Information on scenic/botanically interesting drives in Southwest Montana...
Vipond Park Driving Loop
There are several special interest and plant areas on this loop. One can approach Vipond Park from the north turning at the Wise River exit and turning south on the Quartz Hill road just past Dewey. From the south, one can go to Melrose, across the tracks and river and head up Trapper Creek road. Going from this approach, one will first pass the old town of Glendale. Not much is left. The next stop is the charcoal kilns, which are being restored. Next, head up the switchbacks to Vipond Park. Look for Penstemon lemhiensis on the road cuts on the switchbacks. There is a good viewpoint to the top of the switchback to observe the glacial terrain of Canyon Creek.
Once on top, you are in Vipond Park. Pending times, one can observe fields of camas, Camassia quamash, along with numerous wet forbs; Claytonia lanceolata, Pedicularis groenlandica and more.
Coming down from Vipond Park, look for pygmy bitterroots and fields of pasque flowers. There are abundant Calypso orchids blooming about 3.4 miles from the end of Quartz Hill road. Coming from the top, start looking in the Douglas fir zone, just after the subalpine fir zone. Look off the road by the rotten logs. They are in clumps of 30 to +40 plants. Mid to late June is ideal.
In lower elevations there is plenty to see; townsendia, bluebells, penstemons, phlox, erigerons, senecios and more. Glacier lilies are the early bloomers.
Flora changes from week to week. For the best road information, obtain a Forest Service travel plan and contact the Dillon Ranger Office at 406-683-3900 or the Wise River Ranger Office at 406-832-3178.
Gravelly Mountain Tour
Click here for the Gravelly Mountain Tour plant list.
This area is south of Ennis. Several loops can be made to access the subalpine meadows. High elevations and open meadows dominate the area. July through August are the best flora viewing months. Fields of Polygonum bistortoides, Hymenoxys grandiflora and Wyethia are abundant. A plant list is available. Rare pink Agoseris lackschewitzii and Thalictrum alpinum can be found. In early to mid July, the Forest Service leads a public tour of the area. To obtain a Forest map and more information contact the Madison Ranger District Office at 406-682-4253.