Day Hikes along the Rocky Mountain Front

Day hike the Rocky Mountain Front and the Bob Marshall Wilderness

Trip Details

Trip Date:

05/15/2019 - 09/30/2019

Trip Type:


Number of Days/Nights:

Days - Nights



Distance with Day Hikes:



Price Per Person:





  • Easy to Strenuous options
  • Family outings
  • Beautiful landscapes
  • Includes transport to trailhead, lunch, and guiding services


New this year, we are offering day hikes along the Rocky Mountain Front.  Below are examples of a few of our stunning day-long adventures.  You can choose to do a mellow hike along beautiful rock pools or you can stretch out those legs and summit some of the Front’s classic peaks.  All hikes are on the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest, and several of them include a portion in the famed Bob Marshall Wilderness.

Price: $200 for two people.  Each additional person is $45.  Trip price includes transport to and from trailhead, lunch, guiding services, and permit fees.

Details: Book at least a day in advance.  You can call us at (406) 289 – 0863 or the Stage Stop Inn at (406) 466 – 5900 to schedule a hike.  Hikes will leave from the Stage Stop Inn in Choteau at 8:30 AM unless otherwise arranged.  Day hike season will begin after July 6th.

Day Hike Registration Form

Day Hike Gear List and Rental Info


Dearborn River/Devil’s Glen

Rating: Easy – Moderate

Miles (round trip): 6

Explore the beautiful rock pools and geology that is reminiscent of the American Southwest. This hike takes you along the Dearborn River, the major drainage flowing from the Scapegoat Wilderness. It is mostly river grade with short sections of up and down. Much of the hike features unique canyon geographies, open meadows, and excellent swimming holes, and it is perfect for a mellow day hike and a family outing.

Smith Creek

Rating: Easy – Moderate

Miles (round trip): 6

Hike along the rarely visited Smith Creek drainage. The first mile and a half takes you across the creek several times (water crossing shoes are recommended) as you meander up stream. After this, you climb onto a high bench where you can see much of the regrowth from the 1988 fire and the limestone escarpments to the west. The turn around point is where Jackie Creek enters Smith Creek, and is punctuated by several rock pools, small waterfalls, and large Douglas Fir trees. It is a most excellent picnic location. This hike is great for beating the heat on hot days, swimming, and getting a little quiet time in the mountains.

Patrol Lookout

Rating: Moderately Strenuous to Strenuous

Miles (round trip): 11.5

Visit one of the few historic fire lookouts still in operation in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. The first few miles takes you along a mellow, shady trail following Straight Creek before fording the creek and starting the climb up Patrol Mountain (8015 feet). Honeymoon Basin, nestled below Patrol Mountain, provides the perfect resting spot before the final climb to the ridge and the top of the mountain. From this vantage point, you can see the Bob Marshall fan out to the south, west, and north, and the vast Great Plains spreading to the east. If you want a rigorous day hike that will afford you outstanding views, than this is a great option.


Deadman Hill  

Rating: Moderate

Miles (round trip): 10

This is one of the best laid out trails in the one thousand mile of trail that makes up the Rocky Mountain Ranger District. And that is not an understatement. The trail grade is so gradually pleasant that it makes this 2,000 ft. elevation gain feel like an elevator ride.  Top it all off with open mountainsides and a finale that takes you up to an old Lookout sight (7,368’) with a 360 degree tour of the South Fork of the Sun River valley.


Wagner Basin

Rating: Easy – kid friendly

Miles (round trip): 1

Sawtooth Mountain and Castle Reef are the sentinels for Sun Canyon.  Below these looming monoliths lies Wagner Basin.  This is a perfect place for an amble.  From the parking area it is a short walk into the bowl at the floor of Castle Reed, bounded by the Sun River.  You can see indigenous pictographs, a variety of plant and bird life and potentially a big horn sheep. This is also a good launching point to climb Castle Reef or hike on top of one of the benches for a broader view of the canyon.


Headquarters Pass 

Rating: Moderate to Moderately Strenuous

Miles (round trip): 7.5

This is a wonderful trail that has a little bit of everything.  You start from the South Fork of the Teton Trailhead and follow it up towards the alpine basin while steadily climbing 2,141 feet to the pass.  Enjoy abundant wildflowers, large vistas, waterfalls and an impressive deep, cold spring fed by an ice glacier.  Take in all of this before hitting the switchbacks and reaching the pass. The pass offers marvelous views west into the Bob Marshall Wilderness, including a peak at the famed Chinese Wall, and east onto the plains.  This is the ticket for those wanting to climb Rocky Mountain.  Standing at 9, 392 feet Rocky is the tallest mountain along the Front.

Our Lake

Rating: Moderate

Miles (round trip): 6.5

Our Lake, also known as Hidden Lake is many hikers first introduction to hiking the Rocky Mountain Front.  And for good reason.   This moderate trek gains 1,500 in elevation gradually climbing towards a quintessential mountain lake.  A fisherman’s trail circles the cerulean waters of the lake and often mountain goats and big horn sheep can be seen grazing in the peaks above.

Clary Coulee 

Rating: Moderate

Miles (round trip): 6

This is a quick hike that will get your blood pumping.  It starts with a climb that will leave you staring at Ear Mountain and Deep Creek to the south and at the steep mountain side across the draw.  You will climb 1,140 feet while hitting the headwall at the back of the drainage and rising to top out at a bench with dramatic views of the mountains to the north as well as a stunning panoramic of the prairie to the east and the island mountain ranges beyond.

Route Creek Pass 

Rating: Moderate to Moderately Strenuous

Miles (round trip): 13

This is a narrow valley that follows the Middle Fork of the Teton to its source.  The trail is in good condition and a moderate grade as it climbs about 2,000 feet towards the headwall at the backend that makes the pass.  About 4 miles up the trail, you have the opportunity to rest and enjoy the impressive falls of the Middle Fork of the Teton River.  Route Creek is a scenic hike that begins on the valley floor, climbing up through aspen stands, woodlands and open hillsides before rising among towering limestone cliffs.

Mount Wright

Rating: Moderately Strenuous to Strenuous

Miles (round trip): 7

Mount Wright is a great hike to get up high in a hurry. Sitting at 8875 feet, this mountain is one of the taller ones in the area. It takes only three and a half miles to get to the top, but it includes more than 3,000 ft. of climbing. It is definitely worth it as the views up top are quite stunning. The trail goes through some of the 2007 Fool Creek Burn and includes a lush understory of wildflowers and new saplings. This is a difficult hike but is a favorite because of the shorter distance and the unparalleled views.

Blackleaf Canyon

Rating: Moderate

Miles (round trip): 8

Blackleaf Canyon provides everything the Rocky Mountain Front has to offer. It includes sheer limestone cliffs, often used for rock climbing activities. It features a beautiful little stream with small rock pools. It opens up to a large valley filled with aspen, open meadows and limber pine forests. The hike features a gradual climb to a pass that gives you dramatic views of the valley to the east and the Bob Marshall Wilderness to the west. If you want a moderate day hike that affords all the grandeur of the Rocky Mountain Front, than this is a great hike for you.


Day Hike Registration Form

Day Hike Gear List and Rental Info


Please call or email for more details.
(406) 289–0863


Deposits are non-refundable, and the balance is due by May 15th  unless otherwise specified.  The balance is non-refundable after this date.  We do not give refunds for any reason. This includes but is not limited to; route changes due to wildfires, smoke, floods, trail conditions, or unprecedented weather events.  We do not give refunds if personal health inhibits you from participating on a trip.  Because of this, we STRONGLY recommend purchasing trip insurance.  We recommend Global Rescue’s Signature Travel Insurance.

Trip Rating Definitions



  • 5 - 8 mile travel days along river grade trail with some undulating terrain, but no major changes in elevation. All hiking is on maintained trail.


  • 6 – 10 mile travel days with some of those days requiring changes in elevation of 500 – 1200 ft. over several miles. Short portions of route may be off-trail.

Moderately Strenuous

  • 8 – 12+ mile travel days with some days having a combined change in elevation totaling 2,500 feet, or more, over several miles. Off-trail hiking and routing finding with short portions of limited exposure possible.


  • 7 – 12+ mile travel days with regular changes in elevation over a few miles. Frequent off-trail hiking over uneven terrain with areas of exposure and route finding involved. Previous backcountry experience required.

*Please note these descriptions are used for travel days only and are our attempt to provide a rating for the overall trip difficulty. On layover days we will offer optional hiking opportunities that may not be in keeping with the rest of the trip difficulty rating.

Additionally, changes in elevation are meant to represent the days’ starting and ending elevations, but not necessarily the total elevation lost and gained throughout the course of the day. If you have questions or concerns regarding trip difficulty and your abilities please contact us.