The five days that we spent at the Downing Mountain Lodge, we kept finding ourselves staring at the view… shaking our heads and commenting on how damn beautiful it is.The lodge is located 2,000 feet above the Bitterroot Valley. If it weren’t for the twinkling lights of Hamilton, MT from the valley below, you would think you are in the middle of nowhere; not 20 minutes from town.
The Landcruiser crawled up the 15 switchbacks to the unique 16 sided log chalet. We took Lola down the driveway leading to the Lodge’s covered entrance to unload. However, they do have a large parking lot above, perfect for a crowd to park their off road rigs after a day of hitting the trails.
Walking into the lodge, the central rock fireplace commands to be noticed. From it’s size to log details, it gives the panoramic views a run for their money. We found the fireplace became the gravitating point for our time at the lodge.
Something about the crackle of a wood fire and the radiating warmth…
The lodge can sleep 14 adult guests, has three bedrooms, two newly remodeled bathrooms and a full commercial kitchen. In a previous life, the lodge was a unique steak house in the Bitterroot Valley and the new owner has kept the amenity of being able to serve a large group in the commercial kitchen. Imagine your party coming back from off roading the Bitterroot to enjoy a meal at the large dining table (think Thanksgiving family large) and soaking up the views.
The master bedroom faces east and catches the sunrise. One morning, we rose early and hopped into the front lawn hot tub (yes, there is two hot tubs- a wood stove sauna!) where we caught the sunrise over the Sapphire Mountains.
The front lawn has a large deck that overlooks the valley and has a wood fire barbeque if your group wants to really show off their culinary skills. We, however, choose to kick back and Andy grabbed the house guitar. Not a bad way to watch the sun set over the valley.
After watching Hamilton’s lights twinkle up from the valley floor for a bit, we grabbed our drinks and hit the foosball table. Andy won the match and he was sure to use the lodges WIFI to let folks know about it (insert rolling of eyes here).
There is a TV in the lodge, but we didn’t feel the need to use it. I do wish that one of us knew how to play the piano though, as that is one thing I did feel the need to use… not well may I add…
In the summer the lodge boosts amazing wildflowers, late summer brings huckleberries and like we mentioned above, the winter brings backcountry skiing for the area. Downing Mountain’s owner offers guided skiing trips during the winter and lake/river excursions in the summer.
Downing Mountain Lodge is the perfect place for a crew to gather after a day of hitting the trails. In fact, we are planning a trip to the Magruder Corridor next summer and I can’t think of a better place to start off the trip with our friends.
Video of our time at Downing Mountain Lodge will be up on Thursday, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel so you never miss one!