Scapegoat Wilderness Backpacking Traverse

Evans Peak, Scapegoat Plateau, and Sugarloaf Mountain with Bryn and Bill Cunningham

Trip Details

Trip Date:

06/30/2019 - 07/09/2019

Trip Type:


Number of Days/Nights:

10 Days - 9 Nights



Distance with Day Hikes:



Price Per Person:





  • Rugged exploration
  • Unbelievable views
  • Wilderness solitude
  • Peak climbing


Experience wilderness at its wildest on our Scapegoat Wilderness Backpacking Traverse along with wilderness legend Bill Cunningham and his son, Bryn. The landscape we hike across is unparalleled in rugged beauty as we explore the remote mountaintops and plateaus of the Scapegoat.

We begin our journey on the southern end of the Scapegoat, taking in one of the most impressive waterfalls in the Bob Marshall Complex, before scaling the imposing Evans Peak (8979’), which towers above the headwaters of the Blackfoot River. Then we scramble up onto the Scapegoat Plateau, a place of mythic proportions. This immense, high-elevation plateau resembles a moonscape interspersed with lush vegetative oases, where water literally bursts from the limestone rock only to disappear a few hundred yards away. Few people travel here, as access is difficult. We make the most of this rare opportunity and spend several days exploring the rock outcroppings and other geologic features.

Scapegoat Mountain (9202’) beckons us, revealing the sheer wall below, and the gentler Flint Mountain (9079’) provides views to the north. Mountain goats, bighorn sheep, deer, elk, and bears all call the plateau home, and we have a good chance of seeing some of these fine creatures. This is a place that inspires reverence and awe.

Once we leave the plateau, we continue off-trail to Observation Point, a triple divide watershed. The waters to the southwest flow to the Blackfoot; the waters to the east travel to the Sun River; and the waters to the northwest flow to the Flathead River. Camping along the Continental Divide, we day-hike up Sugarloaf Mountain (8698’), a square-topped peak that resembles a miniature Scapegoat Plateau. Our last few days involve exploring the ridge leading up to Patrol Mountain (8015’), home to a historic fire lookout, and camping in a high-elevation basin bursting with early summer flora, before sauntering out to the nearest trailhead.

The trip traverses the Scapegoat Wilderness from southwest to northeast, traveling some of the more remote corners of the wilderness. With over 75% of this trip off-trail and on rugged terrain, it is designed for folks with previous backpacking experience and the ability to carry a 35 to 45 pound pack. There is one food drop midway through the trip.

If you seek a wild, rugged, and challenging wilderness experience, this is the trip for you.

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.