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Jwilly25
Jason Williams



Joined: 25 Jan 2019
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PostFri Jan 25, 2019 9:12 am 
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I am planning a trip with two other guys from Texas for Aug, 2019. I'm looking for something outside of Glacier (too many people) where we can backpack in, see epic scenery, very little people, catch some trout and stay for 4-5 days. We've booked flights into Missoula, but that as far as we've made it. Any advice is greatly appreciated!

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Bronco
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PostFri Jan 25, 2019 9:47 am 
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The Bob (Marshall wilderness) is reasonably close to Missoula and much less popular than Glacier.

Consider rebooking to Billings and tackle the Beartooth Plateau if you really want Solitude.
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timberghost
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PostFri Jan 25, 2019 11:48 am 
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Weather you do the Bob or Glacier you better be prepared for Grizzly bears and were not just talking one encounter.
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olderthanIusedtobe
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PostFri Jan 25, 2019 11:55 am 
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Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness (south central Montana, straddles the border w/ Wyoming) is huge, lakes everywhere, plenty of fish.  Some trailheads more popular than others but lots of area to spread out into.  Some of it ideal for off trail rambling.  Various access points.  South of Livingston, east of Yellowstone NP, Beartooth Highway between Cooke City and Red Lodge.
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Schenk
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PostFri Jan 25, 2019 2:26 pm 
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The Anaconda-Pintler (Pintlar by some spellings) Wilderness is pretty much deserted and isn't far from Missoula at all. Rattlesnake Wilderness too...and that one is a super short drive from downtown Missoula. Both will have solitude and fishing opportunities.

A little info on each:
http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2007/aug/12/montanas-lonesome-wilderness/

https://hotspotoutdoors.com/forums/topic/158390-fishing-high-mountain-lakes-photo-heavy/

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texasbb
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PostFri Jan 25, 2019 2:55 pm 
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Jwilly25 wrote:
I'm looking for something outside of Glacier (too many people) where we can backpack in, see epic scenery, very little people, ...

I haven't hiked much there, but most Montanans I've known are average sized.   clown.gif
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tmatlack
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PostSat Jan 26, 2019 3:47 am 
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Choteau/Dupuyer area= Swift Creek Reservoir, Mt. Richmond, Chinese Wall
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jdk610
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PostSat Jan 26, 2019 12:04 pm 
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texasbb wrote:
Jwilly25 wrote:
I'm looking for something outside of Glacier (too many people) where we can backpack in, see epic scenery, very little people, ...

I haven't hiked much there, but most Montanans I've known are average sized.   clown.gif

lol.gif  lol.gif  lol.gif
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Billoutwest
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PostSat Jan 26, 2019 12:10 pm 
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Best option would be the Chinese Wall in the Bob Marshal Wilderness. This is a very special place.

Try to set up your hike where you'll be at the base of this impressively long feature at some point and also at an angle where you can see a sunrise on it from afar.

Each person to Carry bear spray on their chest.
Always whether you have your pack on or not.

The Bob is set up for horse/mule packers.

Not that many bridges. Hard on your feet and boots to keep getting that wet.

Have light shoes for stream crossings and camp. Not sandals. Give yourself some ankle support with your light shoes.

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DadFly
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PostSun Jan 27, 2019 2:08 pm 
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Hey there.
I spent the first 30 years of my life in Missoula.
All of the posts above are great!

Grizzlies are possible everywhere but I didn't worry about them then. But people tended to shoot at them in those days. Now I would definately carry bear spray very handy -even though you will probably not ever need it.

So fly into Missoula and take your pick.
To the south is the Bitterroot range. Granite spine that stretches all the way south into Idaho. There are fewer people than Glacier for sure. Montana in general is like that. There are lots of loops you could do. Look at Bear creek, Big creek area. Or go further south and look at the Trapper peak area. Still grizzlies there but fewer than Glacier and the Missions.
The Rattlersnake wilderness is basically the south end of the Missions and it is all one eco system with Glacier and the Bob. Speaking of the Bob, I did a trip from Bencmark to Holland lake a few years ago to mark the 40th anniversary of a boy scout hike we did on the same route.

The Rattlesnake is where I used to go pretty much every weekend before I was 12. Great alpine country with lots of lakes. Probably more people than the Bitterroots but still far fewer than Glacier. You could ride mountain bikes up the Melcher corridor and out again.

The Missions are really rugged and wild. Bears love it. Peak baggers love it more. If you are good at bushwhacking and steep terrain I recommend it.

The Beartooths are where you should be if you can change your flight into Billings or RedLodge. Still bear country but huge country with few people and great fishing. All granite. It is part of the Yellowstone eco system but the nature of granite country does not lend itself to dense bear populations.

Good luck and let us know how it goes!

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RichP
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PostMon Jan 28, 2019 10:07 am 
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Great info, Dadfly.  up.gif

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markweth
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PostMon Jan 28, 2019 11:00 am 
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You've got a wealth of options leaving from Missoula.

The Bitterroot Mountains are probably where I would recommend. You could be at perhaps a dozen trailheads in under and hour and many, many more in under two hours. There aren't many great loops in the Bitterroots, but you could hike up to a lake, fish and explore for a day or two, then hike to another lake, then backtrack out. Big Creek Lakes would be a good area for this, as would Blodgett Canyon. Pretty much every Bitterroot Canyon has a lake or two at the head of it, most with fish, and several have trails that drop over into Idaho or adjacent canyons with more lakes to check out. If going midweek crowds shouldn't be an issue but the Bitterroots are seeing more and more weekend traffic. Check out the book "Hiking the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness" by Scott Steinberg (Falcon Press) for some ideas. If your local library doesn't have a copy you can ask them to interlibrary loan it for you, they might charge a small postage fee but otherwise it should be a free service.

If you're up for a bit more of a drive, then the Anaconda-Pintler Mountains are definitely worth checking out but there was a big forest fire in there a few years back that impacted some of the best loop trails, unfortunately.

A bit further of a drive than that and you could check out the Pioneer Mountains. The East Pioneers have some really nice lakes and good trail systems and few crowds. Again, not many loop options, but some great out-and-back hikes and lots of lakes with trout. You could end your trip with a stop at Elkhorn Hot Springs lodge for a soak and some burgers and beer. Check out Bannack Ghost Town nearby if you have the time as well, or make the short hike in to Coolidge Ghost Town. Not sure where you're coming from, but several of the hikes in the Pioneers start at 6,500 feet or so, which might mean a night at the trailhead before the trip for acclimatization is a good call.

A lot longer drive (maybe 6 hours from Missoula), but wow is it pretty . . . get down into Idaho and go backpacking in the White Clouds Wilderness or the Sawtooths (Sawtooths are much more crowded). The drive is spectacular and the scenery down there is phenomenal.

One important thing to consider is forest fires. August is prime time for fires in the West and you should definitely have some Plan B, C, and D options in case the area you want to go to is on fire and access is restricted or the smoke is so thick it is miserable to hike in and you don't get any views. So I'd make sure Plans A-D are scattered about the state in a few different places, but you can always get unlucky and have pretty much the whole Northwest covered in smoke. I remember in early September 2017 I drove back from North Cascades National Park to near Missoula in one day and NEVER got out of the smoke!

Have a great trip and feel free to message me if you need any more info.
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Steve
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PostMon Jan 28, 2019 6:49 pm 
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Travel north to visit Jasper/Banff. Scenery is spectacular, the park is huge and not crowded.

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RandyHiker
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PostMon Jan 28, 2019 7:12 pm 
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Steve wrote:
and not crowded

When were you last there?   At least in the front country things have been getting crowded in recent years.

I was there last March for skiing and the parking lot at Lake Louise was pretty packed when we returned from a tour mid-afternoon.  The frozen lake surface was well packed from many hundreds of walkers.

I can't imagine how jammed it is in summer.
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Billoutwest
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PostTue Jan 29, 2019 12:43 pm 
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Yeah.

I got a laugh too out of that not crowded line for anywhere near popular Banff spots.

Lake Louise was horrible for us in summer and we just turned around driving past all that overflow parking and headed to Kananaskis Country below Canmore Alberta.

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