Author Joseph Kinsey Howard called Montana “high, wide, and handsome,” and this trip shows you exactly what he meant. The trip offers the best of all hiking worlds. You’ll have stock support to lighten your load for most the trip, then we’ll backpack a short portion to where we can climb remote peaks and explore above tree-line.
This nine-day adventure is your chance to really immerse yourself in the wilderness. The trip goes over Route Creek Pass into the famed North Fork of the Sun River before heading up to the Northern Chinese Wall – the wild and much less traveled extension of the Southern Chinese Wall. Our first panorama of the wall comes as we look west from the top of Moonlight Peak (8102’). We soon get up close and personal with it as we make our way to Lake Levale along the northern edge of the wall. Lake Levale’s crystalline waters provide the perfect backdrop for wilderness contemplation, fishing for native arctic grayling, or as a jumping-off point to hike Signal Mountain (8249’) to the east.
From here we begin our three-day sojourn without stock. This allows us to spend quality time exploring the high divide. An elusive unnamed peak (8800’) beckons us as we top the Continental Divide at Switchback Pass. It is a sentinel of the wall, marking its northern terminus and towering above most other peaks in the area, yet escaping the confines of a name. We also explore picturesque Dean Lake and formidable Pentagon Mountain (8873’) rising above it, savoring the solitude and wildness of this place.
Our last backpacking day involves hiking below the Trilobite Range and checking out the Trilobite Lakes, suspended high above the Middle Fork of the Flathead below. While hanging out up high, we have a good chance of spotting mountain goats, bighorn sheep, and elk wandering the high alpine meadows and sunny rock ledges. From atop both the unnamed peak and Pentagon, we can see much of the Bob Marshall Wilderness and well into Glacier National Park.
Only two days involve carrying a full load (35 to 40 pounds), and the miles are all on-trail.
We meet back up with the stock at Clack Meadows and spend two days hiking out of the Bob, thus completing the journey along the Northern Continental Divide. Most moving days are between 10 – 13 miles, and all day-hikes include off-trail travel and some rock scrambling.
If you want the comforts of a stock-supported trip yet still have the yearning to adventure up high, this is a perfect fit for you.