Living in Great Falls, we frequent the Little Belt Mountains for adventures close to home. The Memorial Falls Trail is a short and easy hike great for families and those just looking for a quick hike. It’s also a great place to visit in any season. The trail winds along the river through the woods and ends up at a couple pretty cascades. If you find yourself in the Little Belts, Memorial Falls is worth the quick stop! Keep reading for more hike details below.
Getting to the Memorial Falls Trailhead
Memorial Falls sits just south of the small town of Neihart. If you head south on US-89 from Neihart, the trailhead is just off to the left. If you reach the Jefferson Creek pullout, you’ve gone too far. The Memorial Falls parking area is visible from the road. It is a fairly large paved lot with restrooms and some informational signs.
Memorial Falls is located within Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest. There are no fees to park and hike here.
Hiking to Memorial Falls
Hike Type: Easy out-and-back trail
Distance: 1 mile to the upper falls and back
Duration: 45 mins – 1 hr
Regulations: Signs ask that you don’t climb the cliffs around the falls and river. Pets are permitted. This is bear country, so use proper food storage methods and keep an eye on kids and pets.
Our adventure to Memorial Falls began on a sunny winter morning. The temps were below freezing and the forest sat under a fresh blanket of snow, so we found ourselves to be the only ones at the trail that day.
The trail begins by the river with a bridge leading over it. Views from the path were pretty from the start as we walked along the river surrounded by pines and rocky cliffs. Even though it slow going through the deep drifts at points, the glistening snow made the hike even more stunning.
Most of the path to the falls was uphill, but nothing too strenuous. When there isn’t snow covering the trail, there are some rocky spots. Eventually, we came to the lower falls, which is the larger of the cascades. There is a small wooden bridge that crosses below Memorial Falls, and there are some nice spots around the falls to take photos or sit and take a break. The frigid winter temperatures had the falls almost completely frozen and it was beautiful!
From across the bridge, we cut back across the hillside on the trail that leads further up the valley to the upper falls. To reach the upper cascades, it’s only a few more minutes of walking from the lower falls. This cascade was much smaller and there were many fallen trees across the river. From here, hikers can continue up the valley a ways or turn around to head back the same way to the parking area. We continued a short ways to take in more of the winter scenery but turned back when we tired of trudging through the snow.
What to Bring to Hike to Memorial Falls
Water: A hike essential.
Sturdy Walking Shoes: As mentioned above, there are some rocky sections and potentially slick areas by the water. It can also get muddy and icy during parts of the year. So, we recommend hiking shoes with good tread.
Mini First Aid Kit: An item we always like to have just in case.
Camera: If you want to capture your adventure.
Bear Spray: Bears have been spotted in the area, so bring along your bear spray and know how to use it.
Layers: Even in the summer it can be chilly. We recommend bringing light layers and/or a wind breaker. Heavier layers and gloves plus a beanie may be needed during snowy parts of the year.
Sun Protection: Most of the trail is shaded, but we always like to bring sunglasses, sunscreen, and/or a hat when venturing outdoors.
Other Gear: You may want to bring trekking poles, crampons, snowshoes, or other gear depending on your preferences and the trail conditions when you visit.