Over one million acres of incredible beauty, solitude, and peace await you at the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area. Situated in the western portion of Montana, astride the Rocky Mountains, and adjacent to Glacier National Park and the Flathead, Lolo, and Lewis&Clark National Forests, The Bob Marshall Wilderness Area is one of the most beautiful, pristine, and wonderful places that one can visit in the lower 48 states that still resembles what Lewis and Clark would have seen when they made their epic journeys of discovery in the early years of the 1800s. Named after the great naturalist and forester Bob Marshall, this place is extremely beautiful and rugged. It is a wilderness area, so don't expect many, or any, ameneties here. Who needs ameneties anyway when striving for a wilderness experience? What follows is an information table and a general overview of the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area.
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Established: 1941 and again in 1964(it had a different name until 1964)
Size: 1,009,354 acres
Number of Lakes: Over 100
Trails: Over 1000 miles, with 75 and 100 mile trail "loops", and the Continental Divide Trail.
Camping?: Yes, but you have to hike to get to them.
Highest Elevation: Red Mountain, 9411 feet.
Lowest Elevation: 4000 feet in the valley floors.
Coolest Geological Feature: "The Great Wall", 1000 feet high and 22 miles long along the Continental Divide.
Picnic Area?: Yes, but you have to hike in to get to them.
Wildlife Viewing: Yes, tons of wildlife.
Fishing: Yes, some of the best!
Hunting: No, not in a wlderness area.
Overview/Things to do.
The Bob Marshall Wilderness Area is a place to visit if you want to "get away from it all". If you have been to Glacier or Yellowstone National Parks, you know how crowded it can get, and how, at the end of the day, you can't find a place to camp or sleep. Well, you won't have any of those problems here! You will have to prepare for a totally different experience when you come here. A good "base camp" is the tiny town of Lincoln, Montana, not far from the edge of the wilderness area. My wife and I used this very place as a base camp when we visited in 1996, and plan a return this summer.
Things you will need when visiting.
A light and sturdy backpack, a tent, dried food, water, waterproof matches, first aid kit, camera, film, insect repellant, boots, light clothes, rain gear, warm clothes, compass, water filter, cooking gear, etc.
A wide range of animals can be seen here, from herds of elk, deer, to mountain lions, black bear, grizzly bear, golden eagles, songbirds, warblers, mountain bluebirds, ravens, marmots, chipmunks, mountain tanagers, pikas, otters, beavers, salmon, trout, etc. Watch out for grizzly bears, however!
With over a thousand miles of hiking trails, it is a very good idea to pick up not only trail maps from the ranger station, but also pick up one of the specialized trail maps put out by the US Geologic Survey. There are no roads in the wilderness area, except those that lead to the park border. You better be in shape for the visit, however, as many trails are miles and miles, and lead to primitive camping areas along the way. Rapid changes in weather occur here, it can be roastingly hot one minute, and raining and cold the next! The choice of trails is incredible. You can do the Continental Divide Trail, and hike to the "Great Wall", a huge geological feature over 1000 feet high, and over 20 miles long. There are other "loop" trails, essentiall a big circle, of between 75 and 100 miles. Doing 6-10 miles a day, these take more than a week, and you won't see another human being!
With a two man pup tent, or a 'geotent', you have shelter.
There are designated "primitive camping" sites strewn about the park, but if you have to pitch camp quickly, you can do it just about anywhere there is a cleared spot. Don't expect luxury here, though. And danger is always present if grizzly bears are in the area!
Some of the best fishing around is what awaits you in the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area. Fly fishing for trout is popular, but you can fish for trout using more traditional methods as well. Get a fishing liscense first, and check the regulations, and get out your pole! Some of the best fish you have ever caught for dinner await you in the more than 100 lakes, and numerous streams and rivers that flow through the park.
So many photo opportunities await you here, as the panoramas and scenic vistas of mountains, lakes, alpine meadows, and forests are everywhere, sometimes all combined into one shot! Wildlife photographers will have a field day too here.
I made this title up, but it is definitely applicable here.
You have to be a lover of nature to visit this park! With no ameneties, this park does not attract many people, and that is one of the most attractive prospects to me! Coming from Chicago, this place stops me dead and puts life into a greater perspective. No crowds, no rush hour, no cars, no cares! John Muir put it succinctly: "Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. And cares will fall off, like autumn leaves." I can think of no other place that epitomizes these words, than Bob Marshall Wilderness Area!
So, all in all, the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area is one of the most beautiful, scenic, least crowded, and most wonderful place you can visit in the lower 48 states, and I recommend it highly to those who seek these attributes.
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Best time to go: June-August
Recommended for: Couples
Review Topic: Overview