Best Backpacking in Montana

Hiker wearing backpack in Glacier National Park, Montana
Shaman Mountain is reader-supported. We may earn a small commission on certain links, at no additional cost to you. Learn more.

Exploring the rugged wilderness, immersing ourselves in nature’s splendor, and embarking on epic adventures – this is what backpacking in Montana is all about. The treasure trove of scenic landscapes, from majestic mountain ranges to serene alpine lakes, beckons outdoor enthusiasts to venture into the heart of the Big Sky Country. Whether you are an experienced backpacker seeking a thrilling challenge or a nature lover looking to reconnect with the great outdoors, Montana offers an array of breathtaking spots that will leave you awe-inspired. So, tighten those bootlaces, pack your gear, and get ready to discover the top backpacking destinations in this untamed haven for wilderness seekers. Let’s delve into the wonders that await amidst the vast and unspoiled beauty of Montana’s backcountry.



Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park, an awe-inspiring natural wonder, captivates visitors with its majestic peaks, pristine glacial lakes, and abundant wildlife. This iconic national park, renowned for its diverse ecosystems, entices adventurers to explore its rugged trails and immerse themselves in the breathtaking beauty of its untamed wilderness. A sanctuary of serenity, Glacier National Park beckons nature enthusiasts to experience the splendor of unspoiled landscapes and reconnect with the great outdoors.

Reasons To Go Backpacking in Glacier National Park:

  • Spectacular Scenery: Backpacking in Glacier National Park offers unparalleled views of towering snow-capped mountains, glittering glaciers, and crystal-clear lakes, creating a picturesque backdrop for your adventure.
  • Abundant Wildlife: Encounter a diverse array of wildlife, including grizzly bears, moose, elk, and bighorn sheep, as you traverse through the park’s unspoiled wilderness, providing incredible opportunities for wildlife observation and photography.
  • Remote and Untamed: Escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life by venturing into the remote and untamed corners of Glacier National Park. The solitude and tranquility found along the backcountry trails provide a rejuvenating and immersive experience in nature.
  • Hiking Trails for All Levels: Whether you’re a seasoned hiker seeking challenging terrain or a novice backpacker, Glacier National Park offers a wide range of hiking trails suitable for all skill levels, ensuring that every adventurer can find a route that suits their abilities.
  • Unforgettable Camping Experience: Set up camp under a blanket of stars, surrounded by the serenity of the wilderness. Backpacking in Glacier National Park allows you to experience the beauty of nature up close, offering unforgettable camping experiences that create lasting memories.

Recommended Gear: Hiking Boots, Tent, Sleeping Bag, Bear Spray, Backpack, Water Filtration System, Portable Stove


Bob Marshall Wilderness

The Bob Marshall Wilderness, a vast and rugged expanse in Montana, stands as an emblem of unbridled natural beauty. With its sprawling forests, untamed rivers, and majestic mountain ranges, this wilderness area invites intrepid adventurers to delve into a realm untouched by modern civilization. Encompassing over a million acres, the Bob Marshall Wilderness offers a profound sense of solitude and a chance to reconnect with the raw essence of the great outdoors, making it a sanctuary for those seeking an unforgettable backcountry experience.

Reasons To Go Backpacking in the Bob Marshall Wilderness:

  • Untouched Wilderness: Backpacking in the Bob Marshall Wilderness allows you to immerse yourself in an untouched and unspoiled wilderness, where nature reigns supreme and human impact is minimal.
  • Diverse Ecosystems: Experience a rich tapestry of ecosystems, from dense forests to alpine meadows, showcasing a wide variety of plant and animal life, offering nature enthusiasts endless opportunities for exploration and discovery.
  • Challenging Trails: The Bob Marshall Wilderness boasts an extensive network of challenging trails, catering to hikers of all skill levels, ensuring that adventurers can find routes that match their abilities and push their limits.
  • Scenic Beauty: Revel in breathtaking scenery at every turn, as you encounter snow-capped peaks, cascading waterfalls, and pristine rivers, providing a feast for the eyes and a constant reminder of nature’s grandeur.
  • Solitude and Serenity: Find solace in the peaceful embrace of the wilderness, where the absence of crowds and modern distractions allows for a profound sense of serenity and a chance to reconnect with your inner self.

Recommended Gear: Hiking Boots, Backpack, Tent, Sleeping Bag, Water Filter, Multi-Tool, Trekking Poles


Beartooth Mountains

The Beartooth Mountains, a rugged and majestic range in Montana and Wyoming, stand as a testament to the raw beauty of untamed wilderness. With their towering peaks, pristine alpine lakes, and vast expanses of wilderness, the Beartooths offer a haven for outdoor enthusiasts seeking an exhilarating escape into nature. From challenging hikes to serene camping spots, this mountain range beckons adventurers to explore its awe-inspiring landscapes and immerse themselves in the splendor of the great outdoors.

Reasons To Go Backpacking in the Beartooth Mountains:

  • Spectacular Scenery: Backpacking in the Beartooth Mountains rewards adventurers with awe-inspiring vistas of majestic peaks, deep valleys, and crystal-clear alpine lakes, providing a breathtaking backdrop for your journey.
  • Wildlife Encounters: Explore the Beartooths’ diverse ecosystems and encounter wildlife such as bighorn sheep, elk, marmots, and eagles, offering incredible opportunities for wildlife observation and appreciation.
  • Challenging Trails: The Beartooth Mountains boast a network of challenging and rewarding trails, catering to hikers of all levels, from beginners to experienced mountaineers, promising an unforgettable and invigorating backpacking experience.
  • Solitude and Serenity: Revel in the tranquility of the Beartooths’ remote backcountry, where the absence of crowds and modern distractions allows for a deep connection with nature and a sense of peace and rejuvenation.
  • Unforgettable Camping: Set up camp beneath a star-studded sky and amidst the beauty of nature, immersing yourself in the peaceful ambiance of the Beartooth Mountains and creating lasting memories of your wilderness adventure.

Recommended Gear: Hiking Boots, Backpack, Tent, Sleeping Bag, Camping Stove, Camping Pillow, Sunscreen


Bitterroot Mountains

The Bitterroot Mountains, a rugged and enchanting range straddling the border of Montana and Idaho, beckon adventurers with their wild allure. Embracing explorers in their untamed splendor, these mountains boast a captivating blend of soaring peaks, lush forests, and meandering streams. Carved by ancient forces, the Bitterroots invite intrepid souls to uncover hidden treasures, wander remote trails, and forge unforgettable connections with nature’s timeless grandeur.

Reasons To Go Backpacking in the Bitterroot Mountains:

  • Pristine Wilderness: Backpacking in the Bitterroot Mountains offers a chance to immerse yourself in unspoiled and remote wilderness, providing a sanctuary for those seeking solitude and a true escape from the modern world.
  • Breathtaking Scenery: The Bitterroots boast awe-inspiring landscapes, from rugged peaks to lush valleys, ensuring every step reveals new vistas that leave hikers in awe of nature’s beauty.
  • Abundant Wildlife: Encounter a diverse array of wildlife, including elk, deer, mountain goats, and a variety of bird species, making every moment in the Bitterroot Mountains a potential wildlife encounter.
  • Challenging Trails: With an extensive trail system, the Bitterroots offer challenges for both seasoned hikers and novices, promising thrilling adventures and opportunities to test one’s skills.
  • Camping Under the Stars: Set up camp under a canopy of stars, lulled by the sounds of nature, as you experience the unique joy of backcountry camping in the heart of the Bitterroot Mountains.

Recommended Gear: Hiking Boots, Backpack, Tent, Trekking Poles, Water/Snacks, Dry Bag, Camping Chairs


Crazy Mountains

The Crazy Mountains, a rugged and captivating range in Montana, beckon adventurers with their wild and untamed allure. Standing tall amid the vast plains, these mountains boast dramatic peaks, deep canyons, and alpine meadows, forming a haven for hikers and nature enthusiasts alike. With a rich history and a wealth of natural beauty, the Crazy Mountains invite explorers to embark on thrilling journeys and discover the secrets hidden within their majestic slopes.

Reasons To Go Backpacking in the Crazy Mountains:

  • Unique Landscape: Backpacking in the Crazy Mountains offers a chance to explore a distinctive landscape, characterized by rugged peaks, deep canyons, and serene alpine meadows, creating a truly captivating and diverse environment.
  • Solitude and Serenity: Escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life by venturing into the remote backcountry of the Crazy Mountains, where the absence of crowds allows for a peaceful and rejuvenating experience in nature.
  • Abundant Wildlife: Encounter a variety of wildlife, including bighorn sheep, elk, deer, and a plethora of bird species, providing ample opportunities for wildlife observation and appreciation.
  • Challenging Trails: With a network of challenging trails, the Crazy Mountains cater to both seasoned hikers and those seeking to push their limits, offering thrilling adventures and breathtaking views along the way.
  • Historical Significance: Immerse yourself in the rich history of the Crazy Mountains, as these storied peaks have played a significant role in the region’s Native American and pioneering past, adding cultural depth to your backpacking journey.

Recommended Gear: Hiking Boots, Backpack, Tent, Sleeping Bag, Sunglasses/Sun Protection, Bear Spray, Headlamp


Custer Gallatin National Forest

Custer Gallatin National Forest, a vast expanse in Montana and South Dakota, encompasses an awe-inspiring mosaic of landscapes. From snow-capped peaks and lush forests to wild rivers and vast grasslands, this forest epitomizes the diversity and beauty of the American West. Offering endless opportunities for outdoor adventures, Custer Gallatin National Forest invites visitors to immerse themselves in the unspoiled wilderness and experience nature’s grandeur at its finest.

Reasons To Go Backpacking in the Custer Gallatin National Forest:

  • Diverse Landscapes: Backpacking in Custer Gallatin National Forest allows you to explore an array of landscapes, from majestic mountains to serene forests, providing a rich and varied outdoor experience.
  • Abundant Wildlife: Encounter a wide range of wildlife, including elk, deer, bears, and numerous bird species, offering exceptional wildlife viewing and photography opportunities.
  • Backcountry Trails: With an extensive network of backcountry trails, Custer Gallatin National Forest caters to hikers of all levels, providing options for both day hikes and longer multi-day treks.
  • Remote Wilderness: Venture into the heart of untouched wilderness, where the tranquility and solitude of the forest allow for a genuine connection with nature and a sense of peaceful escape.
  • Stunning Scenery: Revel in breathtaking views of snow-capped peaks, alpine lakes, and winding rivers, making each step of your backpacking journey a visual delight in Custer Gallatin National Forest.

Recommended Gear: Trekking Poles, Map/Compass, Backpack, Camping Cookware, Sleeping Bag, Water Filter, Bear Spray


Jewel Basin

Jewel Basin, a pristine wilderness area in Montana, beckons adventurers with its unspoiled beauty. This backcountry gem features an abundance of alpine lakes, rugged peaks, and lush meadows, creating a captivating paradise for hikers and nature enthusiasts. Known for its serenity and remarkable vistas, Jewel Basin offers a secluded escape into the heart of nature, where each step reveals a treasure trove of scenic wonders.

Reasons To Go Backpacking in the Jewel Basin:

  • Spectacular Alpine Lakes: Backpacking in Jewel Basin rewards hikers with the opportunity to visit numerous pristine alpine lakes, providing stunning reflections and serene spots for rest and contemplation.
  • Panoramic Mountain Views: Experience breathtaking vistas of rugged peaks and sweeping mountain ranges, making every moment on the trail a visual feast for the eyes.
  • Wildlife Encounters: Encounter a variety of wildlife, from mountain goats and marmots to elusive deer and songbirds, offering wildlife enthusiasts memorable moments in their natural habitat.
  • Secluded Wilderness: Jewel Basin’s remote backcountry allows backpackers to find solitude and peace, connecting with nature away from the hustle and bustle of modern life.
  • Vast Trail Network: With an extensive network of well-maintained trails, Jewel Basin offers a range of hiking options, from shorter day hikes to multi-day backpacking adventures, catering to hikers of all levels.

Recommended Gear: Sturdy Footwear, Backpack, Tent, Sleeping Bag, Water Filter, Bear Spray, Insect Repellent


Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness

The Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, a rugged expanse stretching across Montana and Wyoming, lures adventurers with its untamed allure. A treasure trove of natural wonders, this wilderness area encompasses snow-capped peaks, pristine alpine lakes, and verdant valleys. Tucked away from modern civilization, the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness invites intrepid souls to explore its vast landscapes, forging a deep connection with the raw essence of the great outdoors.

Reasons To Go Backpacking in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness:

  • Unparalleled Wilderness: Backpacking in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness offers an unmatched opportunity to immerse yourself in untouched and unspoiled wilderness, providing a rare escape into the heart of nature.
  • Diverse Scenery: Encounter a stunning array of landscapes, from towering mountains to tranquil meadows and crystal-clear lakes, ensuring each step offers a new and breathtaking view.
  • Abundant Wildlife: Experience encounters with a variety of wildlife, including elk, deer, bears, and more, presenting wildlife enthusiasts with extraordinary observation and photography opportunities.
  • Challenging Adventure: The Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness offers an array of challenging trails, making it an ideal destination for experienced hikers seeking thrilling adventures.
  • Solitude and Serenity: Revel in the tranquility and solitude of the wilderness, where the absence of crowds and modern distractions allows for a profound and rejuvenating connection with nature.

Recommended Gear: Map/Compass, Headlamp, Camping Cookware, First Aid Kit, Insect Repellent, Sunscreen/Sunglasses, Dry Bags


Spanish Peaks

The Spanish Peaks, a majestic mountain range in southern Colorado, stand as sentinels of natural splendor. Rising proudly from the surrounding landscape, these peaks dominate the horizon with their distinctive profile. Enveloped in a timeless aura, the Spanish Peaks hold a deep cultural significance for the Native American tribes and continue to captivate modern-day explorers with their rugged beauty and alluring wilderness.

Reasons To Go Backpacking in the Spanish Peaks:

  • Spectacular Scenery: Backpacking in the Spanish Peaks rewards adventurers with breathtaking views of rugged mountains, deep valleys, and vast meadows, creating a picturesque landscape for an unforgettable journey.
  • Cultural Significance: Explore the historical and cultural significance of the Spanish Peaks, revered by Native American tribes for centuries, and immerse yourself in the stories and traditions of the land.
  • Abundant Wildlife: Encounter a diverse range of wildlife, including deer, elk, eagles, and other species, providing ample opportunities for wildlife observation and photography.
  • Challenging Trails: The Spanish Peaks offer a variety of challenging trails, catering to both novice and experienced hikers, ensuring a thrilling and fulfilling backpacking experience.
  • Secluded Wilderness: Venture into the remote backcountry of the Spanish Peaks, where the tranquility and seclusion allow for a deeper connection with nature and a chance to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Recommended Gear: Sturdy Hiking Boots, Backpack, Tent, Sleeping Bag, Water Filtration System, Bear Canister, Trekking Poles


Lee Metcalf Wilderness

The Lee Metcalf Wilderness, an enchanting expanse in southwestern Montana, invites adventurers into its unspoiled realm. Named in honor of Senator Lee Metcalf, this wilderness area encompasses a diverse landscape of soaring peaks, pristine alpine lakes, and lush forests. Within its boundaries lie boundless opportunities for exploration, offering hikers and nature enthusiasts a chance to embrace the true essence of wilderness untouched by human influence.

Reasons To Go Backpacking in the Lee Metcalf Wilderness:

  • Untouched Wilderness: Backpacking in the Lee Metcalf Wilderness provides a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in an untouched and protected natural environment, offering a true escape from the modern world.
  • Scenic Beauty: Explore a diverse and breathtaking landscape, from majestic mountains to serene alpine lakes and meadows, making every step a visual delight.
  • Abundant Wildlife: Encounter a variety of wildlife, including elk, deer, bears, and a plethora of bird species, presenting exceptional wildlife viewing and photography opportunities.
  • Remote Backcountry: Venture into the remote and secluded backcountry, where the tranquility and solitude of nature allow for a deeper connection with the wild surroundings.
  • Challenging Adventures: The Lee Metcalf Wilderness offers a range of challenging trails, catering to hikers of all levels, from beginners seeking a rewarding experience to seasoned backpackers seeking thrilling adventures.

Recommended Gear: GPS/Map, Headlamp/Flashlight, Camping Cookware, First Aid Kit, Insect Repellent, Sunscreen/Sunglasses, Dry Bags


Related Posts:

Person backpacking on an Ocean Path at Acadia National Park, Maine

Best Backpacking in Maine

Maine, a land of untamed natural wonders, calls out to adventurers in search of extraordinary experiences. With its diverse landscapes encompassing majestic mountains, serene lakes,

Closeup of a man and woman using a pump based water filter to fill a water bottle while backpacking

Best Backpacking Water Filters

When embarking on a backpacking adventure, having access to clean and safe drinking water is crucial. And that’s where the best backpacking water filters come

Inflatable Sleeping Pad in a camping tent

Best Inflatable Sleeping Pads

When it comes to a restful night’s sleep in the great outdoors, your choice of sleeping pad makes all the difference. In today’s blog, we’re