Northwest Montana offers some of the best hiking that can be found anywhere in the entire United States. The mountainous scenery and abundant wildlife make hiking in this part of the country a true adventure. The three most popular hiking area’s in Northwest Montana are the Bob Marshall Wilderness, Glacier National Park, and The Jewel Basin. Are the the only area’s to hike in Northwest Montana? No, not by a long shot, but they are the three that are going to be discussed in this article.
Bob Marshall Wilderness – The Bob Marshall Wilderness is often referred to as the “best” of America’s wilderness areas. Nearly fifty years ago, 950,000 acres of high mountain lakes, crystal clear rivers, remote valleys and high, alpine meadows were set aside for protection – destined to remain forever wild. In the 1970’s, the federal government added the Scapegoat Wilderness and the Great Bear Wilderness, creating a total wilderness complex of a million and a half acres. There are four major access points to the Bob Marshall Wilderness area: Seeley Lake, Blackfoot Valley, Monture Creek, and Swan Valley. There are so many hiking trails within the wilderness area there have been books written on the subject of hiking in the Bob Marshall Wilderness.
Glacier National Park – There are over 730 miles of hiking trails in Glacier National Park. One way to see and enjoy Glacier’s beauty is to take a hike on some of these trails. You can do a short hike, a day hike or an extended backcountry hiking and camping trip. To camp in the backcountry, you will need to obtain a free backcountry permit though. Glacier National Park is a very popular hiking destination but is large enough to accommodate everyone. Just like with the Bob Marshall Wilderness, there have been books written on hiking Glacier National Park as well.
The Jewel Basin – The Jewel Basin is a bit less popular than the previous two area, but is a bit more convenient. Located within 30 miles of the town of Kalispell, The Jewel Basin is fairly easy to access. The Jewel Basin includes 27 lakes and 35 miles of trails and is located at the north end of the Swan Mountain Range east of Kalispell and west of the Hungry Horse Reservoir. While the scenery might not be quite as breathtaking as the previous two options, it will surely make you gasp.
Hiking in Northwest Montana offers the hiker everything that they could want. Solitude, scenery, wildlife, exercise, and everything else that the wonders of nature have to offer are all available in beautiful Northwest Montana. To me, hiking is about being in the majesty of nature. Every time I go hiking, I can’t help but remember the immortal words of Ralph Waldo Emerson who said, “Everything in Nature contains all the powers of Nature. Everything is made of one hidden stuff.” The mountains of Northwest Montana most certainly offer a glimpse of that which Mr. Emerson was speaking of.