We are a family business and all trips have the personal touch of Big Wild Adventures owners Howie Wolke and Marilyn Olsen. This means that we can be responsive to the needs of individuals, and we can easily adapt to circumstances such as airline travel glitches and sudden changes in route conditions. Also, we are happy to accommodate student groups and folks with disabilities.
Experience: Since our inception in 1978 we have run well over one thousand multi-day wilderness treks, each one carefully planned and outfitted by Howie and/or Marilyn, and though we are not the biggest, we are widely regarded as the leading backpacking company in the western United States!
Wilderness Backpacking is the most rewarding way to experience a bit of the original America. It’s simply walking through the wilds while carrying food, tent, sleeping bag and clothing in a modern, comfortable backpack. And because you do it on your own two feet, you’ll feel a dramatic sense of accomplishment. It’s also the camaraderie of small groups sharing wonders of nature that few others ever experience. Backpacking is suited to anybody who is healthy, reasonably fit, and open to new ways of experiencing the natural world.
Wilderness Canoeing is another rewarding way to experience wild America, silently paddling your craft with all essential items through magnificent wilderness, sharing the wonders of nature in a similar small group setting.
On all of our Backpacking and Canoeing trips, you will experience wilderness camping at its best: the magic of a warm campfire on a cool night, of great camaraderie and campfire stories, of sleeping in a warm sleeping bag in a state of the art tent or under the stars, completely immersed in primeval nature. Whether you hike or canoe, wilderness camping in the big wilds will be a big part of your experience, something you’ll never forget!
We do not “mass produce” trips, with numerous departure dates for each expedition. Instead, each trip is a unique entity, personally planned by Big Wild owners Howie and Marilyn, and scheduled for optimal time slots. For example, early season water levels and snowpack make travel in some mountain areas difficult before mid-July. Some areas, such as the Wind Rivers, Beartooths and the southern half of Yellowstone are best enjoyed later in summer due to early season snow, wetness and mosquitoes. Southwest Yellowstone is very wet and buggy until late summer, and our September trip provides spectacular autumn colors, but other Yellowstone backpacking treks in drier terrain are great in early summer. We time some trips for optimal wildlife or wildflower viewing. Our spring and fall Southwest trips, which include Utah backpacking, avoid the summer heat. These are just a few examples of the careful planning that goes into each adventure. Don’t settle for less!
Big Wild Adventures is a licensed guide and outfitter with the U.S Forest Service, the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Bureau of Land Management. We are an Equal Opportunity Service Provider.
Nowadays, we feel it is important to note that we do not discriminate based upon race, age, gender, sexual orientation or religion. All are welcome!
On all Big Wild treks, we utilize and continue to develop effective practices for low-impact (“leave no trace”) wilderness travel and camping.
Wildlife:Viewing wildlife – large and small – is an integral part of the wilderness experience. Our guides know where to look and how to spot critters. Although we cannot guarantee any particular level of sightings on a given trip, wildlife is important to us, and chances are great that a Big Wild Adventure will provide an opportunity to watch native animals in their unspoiled natural habitats. Many of our Yellowstone backpacking treks are great for viewing wildlife, as are many of our other Wyoming backpacking and Montana backpacking adventures!
Wilderness: All of our trips are in a wilderness environment with no roads, automobiles, houses, etc. We specialize in exploring truly remote country. Our guides know the secret wild places, off the beaten path, where few other humans are encountered. In other words, we don’t simply hike and camp along major trails; we explore and discover the magical hidden wonders of real wilderness!
Our Small Group Philosophy: Smaller groups minimize impact on fragile wilderness environments. They also provide our guests with the best possible wilderness experience. That’s why we sometimes run two concurrent groups on different routes in the same general area, rather than loading up one trip with a big group of 12 or 15 people. At Big Wild, we emphasize the “wild” in the wilderness, and quality rather than quantity. Depending upon regulations and other factors, our scheduled trips are limited to 4 to 8 clients plus our guide and sometimes an assistant.
Diversity: Nearly always, folks from diverse socioeconomic, cultural and geographic backgrounds get along exceedingly well, finding common ground in the face of the overwhelming natural beauty that they experience on our trips!
Big Wild Adventures
222 Tom Miner Creek Road
Emigrant, Montana 59027
Have a great time!