Snow, stories, hiking, and history all come together in Lolo this winter.
There is an old Salish tradition, to pass the long winter nights, of telling tales of native ancestors. Passed down through the generations, these tales were said to contain all the knowledge of the world. Winter nights haven’t gotten shorter, nor the quest for knowledge less needful—and so the ancient native tradition continues this winter at Traveler’s Rest State Park on Saturdays at 11:00 a.m.
The site of Traveler’s Rest is a historic trail junction used for hundreds of years by the Salish, Pend d’Oreille, and Nez Perce tribes, and it’s one of the only archaeologically verified campsite used by the Corps of Discovery. Since the land itself cannot tell tales, Montana State Parks has enlisted esteemed authors, musicians, and others to share their stories.
With Native American leaders, best-selling scribes, and prolific poets, these family-friendly events have something for everyone. Mariah Gladstone, founder of the online cooking show IndigiKitchen, shares her methods and recipes. Author and musician Ednor Therriault spins yarns from his books Montana Curiosities and Seven Montanas. Also scheduled are writers Phil Burgess, Sneed Collard, Ellen Baumler, and Stephanie Ambrose Tubbs, among others.
While the tales will keep you riveted, there’s much more to be found at Traveler’s Rest—it’s also a playground of trails and wildlife, plus a visitor’s center, Lewis & Clark replica exhibits, Native American crafts, and a 19th-century Main Street. Bring your extended family and rent the onsite pavilion for a comfortable break between hikes. To the east runs the picturesque Bitterroot River, and to the west is Lolo Hot Springs and Lolo Pass, where Nordic skiers can glide and soak the post-story afternoon away.
Traveler’s Rest State Park is located at the junction of US 12 and US 93 in Lolo, surrounding Lolo Creek; it’s a short 20-minute jaunt from downtown Missoula. The speaker series runs from December 31 to February 29 and costs $5 per person, per session. Additional activities and programs run year-round at the park. For more information, visit stateparks.mt.gov/travelers-rest.