Montana Backpacking

Backpacking in Montana means big mountains and big vistas in the big wilds of big sky country! Our guided Montana backpacking trips focus upon three of the Earth’s great remaining temperate zone wilderness regions. Our Yellowstone and Absaroka-Beartooth hiking/backpacking treks explore the wilds of the world-renowned Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.  Our Selway-Bitterroot treks explore the rugged crest of the Bitterroot range along the Idaho/Montana border. This is part of the Greater Salmon-Selway or Central Idaho Wilderness Ecosystem, though you’ll mostly be backpacking in Montana.  And our Bob Marshall Wilderness treks along the spectacular Rocky Mountain Front, just south of Glacier National Park, explore a jaw-dropping chunk of rugged mountain wilderness, in the “Glacier-Bob” (Northern Continental Divide) Ecosystem of northern Montana.

montana-backpacking

Big Wild owners Howie and Marilyn moved to Montana from Jackson Hole, Wyoming in 1986, and are happy to say that our clients report that while in town before and after their treks, Montana hospitality is second to none!

Try one of our most popular backpacking trips in Montana!

Also, please see Yellowstone Backpacking for more treks in our home region, since all of our Yellowstone trips are in Montana, Wyoming or both.

Please note that sometimes our Montana guided hiking trips fill quickly, and we take reservations on a first-come, first-served basis. So don’t miss out! To reserve a space (or to arrange a Custom or Family trek), call 406-848-7000. We can’t wait to explore the Montana wilds with you!


Bob Marshall Wilderness, Glacier Parks’ Wilder Sister

Montana $1,900 (inclusive*) • July 2-7, 2018

Trip at a glance : This backpacking trip is fairly strenuous and its base is Great Falls, Montana. In this Montana backpacking adventure we take you just south of Glacier National Park to the vast Bob Marshall Wilderness complex. These Montana backpacking trips are on the east slope of the Northern Rockies where the spectacular “Rocky Mountain Front” rises above the Great Plains. The scenery here is a mix of rugged limestone peaks, dense forest, wild valleys, extensive meadows, and large populations of wildlife including grizzly bears, wolves, mountain goats and more. We will explore glacial valleys, high basins and ridges along and adjacent to the Continental Divide. The backpacking trip is wild and absolutely breathtaking!

This is a rugged Montana backpacking trip with a day or two of eight or nine miles. We will be backpacking between 5,000 and 8,000 feet in elevation, with day hikes available that exceed those heights. Days are usually warm (70 degrees on average) and nights are cool, but thunderstorms are not uncommon so be prepared for any type of weather! View full trip details >>

Backpacking in Montana White Creek Middle Fk Birch


 Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness Peaks, Lakes & Big Trees

Montana/Idaho border $1,900 • July 9-14, 2018

Hiking Trip at a glance: This backpacking trip is rated as fairly strenuous and its base is Missoula, Montana. The area this Montana backpacking adventure explores is a diverse mountain wonderland of roaring mountain streams, densely forested mountain canyons with huge trees, towering granite crags and sparkling glacial lakes with excellent fishing. You will see plenty of snow flecked peaks that are a background for lush forests. Wildlife in the area includes mountain goats, elk, mule deer, black bear and more. On this Montana trip you will see some of the most spectacular glacial-cut terrain in the Rockies along crest of the Bitterroots on the Idaho/Montana border.

There are a number of different loops we explore on this backpacking adventure and all are beautiful. The ratings of these trips are fairly strenuous and some of the route is backpacking off trail over rocky mountainous terrain. The average daily mileage is six to eight miles and we usually have at least one layover where we can do some exploring with light day-packs. Be prepared for a few steep sections and make sure you are conditioned! The most uphill elevation we will cover in a day is about 2,000 to 2,500 feet. View full trip details >>

Montana Backpacking - Spruce Lake Montana Backpacking Trip


The Beartooths, Montana’s Ultimate Mountains

Montana $1900 (inclusive*) • August 6-11, 2018

Trip at a glance: Montana’s highest and most spectacular peaks lie just northeast of Yellowstone. We will be backpacking through a chunk of the huge the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness of the Custer/Gallatin National Forest. Along this backpacking journey you will see glaciers, large areas of alpine tundra, and  crystal clear lakes. You will also see subalpine forests of whitebark pine, spruce and fir trees, and gorgeous wildflower meadows. There is no shortage of wildlife including mountain goats, bear, moose and more. You will be amazed at the backpacking through towering granite alpine peaks, and on some of our routes there is great fishing, too.

The Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness is one of the most spectacular mountain regions anywhere. If you have ever been interested in backpacking through Arctic Alaska, then this just may be the closest thing you will find in the contiguous United States. We do vary this route from year to year depending upon conditions, and this backpacking trek will be one you will not easily forget. Which ever route we take, it will be fairly strenuous with a lot of off-trail backpacking at high elevation. We may go up to 11,000 feet, with a maximum one-day elevation gain of 2,000 feet or a bit more. View full trip details >>

Book Your Backpacking Trip!
Space is limited!
Have questions? Call (406) 848-7000

GoatsFroze to Death Plateau in Montana


Please click on photos to enlarge.

*All trip prices include equipment (backpack, day-pack, tent, sleeping bag and pad, eating utensils), food and cooking (3 meals/day plus snacks), cooking gear, trip planning, comprehensive safety instruction, all user/permit fees, transportation from town to and from the trailheads, and our professional guide/naturalist staff. There is a $300 discount if you bring your own equipment.

Annual Trip Calendar

Scheduled Montana Trips

At the link below, is information about our Montana backpacking and canoe trips, which also often include backpacking trips in Yellowstone Park.

Montana Backpacking Trips

Canoe Tour in Montana

 

Photo of Boulder Creek, from one of our Montana backpacking hikes

List prices include our complete gear package and there is a $300 discount if you bring your own (see our Canoeing List, Backpacking List, and/or Questionnaire for details – found here). Also, we offer a $300 discount for the second trip in a calendar year. Scheduled trips are for persons ages 14 and over. Exceptions to the age requirement will be made by us on a case-by-case basis.

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