Bob Marshall Wilderness Area, Montana

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Bob Marshall Wilderness

Stretching over a million acres, the Bob Marshall Wilderness will leave you reeling in wonder at the sheer beauty of its towering peaks, cascading waterfalls, alpine lakes, and abundant big game. Read More

  • Solitude seekers seek no more as the Bob Marshall holds the key to your enlightenment.
  • Check out Mother Nature's superb handiwork, the Chinese Wall, 1,000 ft escarpment that runs 12 miles long.
  • Home to the largest population of grizzly bears and critical habitat for the endangered gray wolf.

Overview

With no roads dissecting the area and no motor or mechanical vehicles allowed, Wilderness Act rules, the Bob Marshall Wilderness hails as one of the best preserved mountain ecosystems left in the world. It truly is wild!

The “Bob,” was named in honor of Bob Marshall, a former forester and conservationist who co-founded the Wilderness Society. This 1 million acre wilderness holds one of the most brilliant natural features of the Rockies- the Chinese Wall, a 1,000 ft deep limestone escarpment that continues on for miles.

Location/Information

The Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex is found in northwestern Montana, just south of Glacier National Park tucked between the Scapegoat and Great Bear Wilderness areas.

The “Bob” is managed by the Lewis and Clark, Flathead, Lolo, and Helena National Forests. There are additional offices in Lincoln, Seeley Lake, Choteau, Spotted Bear, Big Fork, and Hungry Horse.

From the west you have access to the Bob Marshall from Seeley Lake, Swan Lake, Kalispell, Hungry Horse, Ovando, and Lincoln. Access from the east is also available, but these towns tend to be a bit smaller; Choteau, Augusta, Bynum, Dupuyer, and Browning.

Because the “Bob” is so remote and vast, it is strongly advised tthat you obtain a map and have a thorough knowledge of your route before venturing into the wilderness. Stop by one of the offices for information and maps.

  • Lewis and ClarkNational Forest - (406) 791-7700
  • Flathead National Forest - (406) 758-5200
  • Lolo National Forest Office - (406) 329-3750
  • Helena National Forest - (406) 449-5201

Activities

The Bob Marshall Wilderness is a true explorers paradise. If you are looking for solitude among nature, then this is your place.

Hiking
Hikers, you have found your heaven. Bursting with wildlife, dense forests, cascading waterfalls, jagged peaks, and rolling valleys the Bob Marshall is truly spectacular. With over 1,000 miles of trails, this is ideal for multi-day trips, but day hikes are also available.

Specific trail information can be found at all four national forest offices.

Fishing
Both the South Fork of the Flathead River and the North and South Forks of the Sun River start their journeys deep in the heart of the Bob Marshall Wilderness before eventually leaving its boundaries some 40 miles downstream. Needless to say, access within the wilderness is a bit difficult.

But for the dedicated angler, packing in your rod and flies is sure to be worth the fishing on these two extremely remote sections of river. You can obtain a fishing license with the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks or at most fishing stores.

Horseback Riding
Relatively gentle terrain, wide river valleys, plenty of forage and simple remoteness make this area horse country. Here in the “Bob” horseback riders easily out number hikers and backpackers. Hop on horseback to reach the isolated interior.

Camping
Camping in the “Bob” will provide you with an unforgettable experience. The sheer remoteness will leave your eyes and ears tuned to nature's wonders. In early fall, enjoy the bugling of elks as they show off during mating season.

Fires are permitted, but camping stoves cause less impact on the area. Food must also be stored in bear canisters at all times, as this is the grizzlies home turf and his curious cousin the black bear will often find his way into your campsite.

Rafting
Take the family down the Middle Fork of the Flathead River for a raging white water ride. Best time is from July to August.

Hunting
Although the “Bob” lies within a wilderness area, it is managed by the forest service which does allow hunting. The prized elk is the most sought after.

If you are interested in tracking and hunting one of the many big game species in the area, you are in luck, there are numerous outfitters ready to take you deep into elk and deer country for this unique hunting experience.

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