Every time I stop at the Kootenai Falls and Swinging Bridge my inner child comes out. Mostly because of the bridge, because who doesn’t like walking on a swinging bridge and purposely bouncing on it to make it swing… well I can tell you who doesn’t like it BOOMER!
Boomer and I were spending the day in Montana late last summer and I decided to stop at the falls and swinging bridge. I checked for a “no dogs allowed” sign and did not find one, so I leashed up Boomer and took him along for the excursion.
We walked along the path which lead us down to a cement bridge that crossed over the train tracks. The next spot may have been where I committed animal cruelty. In hindsight I probably shouldn’t have taken Boomer down these stairs. One because it was hard on his paws and two it totally freaked him out that he could see through them. We carefully went down the stairs with no injury and Boomer was happy to be on solid ground again.
Boomer and I walked over to the Kooteani Falls first. These falls made their theatrical debut in the movie The River Wild, staring one of my favorites and yours, Kevin Bacon. The falls do not have a dramatic drop, only about 30 feet (9.1 m), but they are still scenic as they carve their way around the rocks, rushing by the shoreline where Meryl Streep and her family survived their dangerous rafting trip while escaping the clutches of crazy Kevin Bacon.
Boomer and I backtracked to the fork in the trail, taking the path to the swinging bridge. This trail is slightly more challenging. Not in the fact that it is a hard climb but more that it is full of rocks and tree roots that reach out and grab your feet as you are walking.
Boomer and I reached the swinging bridge and waited patiently for some fellow visitors to clear off the bridge. Boomer and I climbed up the stairs which were not see through this time and stepped onto the bridge.
This is where Boomer’s day fell apart. Unlike my previous visits where I always walk with a bit of a hop to take in the fun of the swinging bridge I did not on this trip. I could tell Boomer was already nervous about walking on the bridge. He was maybe two steps in on the bridge when he made the decision to not go any further. I decided to not torture him anymore and allowed him to lay down. I snapped a few photos from the center of the bridge and took Boomer back to the car. It was probably not the best activity for Boomer but he was a good sport. Small dogs who can be carried probably would be fine visiting here.
The trail to the falls and bridge is about a ¼ mile. The area is filled with many short trails leading you around the river and falls if you are looking for hiking options and supposedly some excellent fishing options are located here as well. Near the parking lot is picnicking and bathroom facilities as well as concessions available May through September. If you would like to visit the Kooteani Falls and Swinging Bridge they are located near milepost 21 on Montana Highway 2 between Libby and Troy Montana.