Beginning in May and lasting throughout the summer and into the fall, Montana Wilderness Association is offering more than 100 free day hikes, overnight trips, and trail building and maintenance projects across some of the state's most magnificent backcountry.

Beginning May 1, the general public can view the entire Wilderness Walks schedule and sign up for Wilderness Walk at wildmontana.org/walks. The entire schedule is also available in MWA’s Discover Wild Montana publication, a benefit for MWA members. Members are given a two-week period to sign up for a Wilderness Walk before registration opens to the public. Become a member online at wildmontana.org.

"We have a terrific lineup of Wilderness Walks this year in the Helena area,” said Amanda Hagerty, special projects coordinator at MWA. “From Rogers Pass to Trout Creek Canyon to Mt. Edith, we have adventures suited for every ability level, from seasoned hikers to children.”

In addition to Wilderness Walks, MWA is also offering the public the opportunity to volunteer this summer on nine different volunteer trail projects happening mostly along the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail, from the Beaverhead Mountains up the Badger-Two Medicine. You can begin signing up for a trail project and view the entire schedule also on May 1 at wildmontana.org/trailvolunteer.

Since the program’s beginnings in July of 1962, when MWA founders Ken and Florence Baldwin led 40 hikers on the first Wilderness Walk to Table Mountain in the Spanish Peaks, the intention of the Wilderness Walks program has remained the same – to build grassroots support for wilderness and public lands by uniting a community around Montana’s special places. Now in its 55th season, MWA’s Wilderness Walks program continues to offer hikers of all ages and experience levels an opportunity to participate in traditional recreation opportunities while enjoying Montana’s quiet beauty and remaining wild places.

Below is a detailed list of all the hikes hosted by MWA’s Wild Divide Chapter and located in Helena and Lincoln area.

For more information, contact Amanda Hagerty at (406) 443-7350 (ext. 108) or at ahagerty@wildmontana.org.

Flesher Pass Full Moon

Wednesday, May 10

Location: Helena

Leader: Amanda Hagerty

Join the Montana Wilderness Association on this full moon hike along a short section of the Continental Divide. As we walk along the trail we will try to discover the meaning of wildness. This interpretive hike will answer questions about surrounding wild places and the historic passage of the Wilderness Act, as well as learn about the creatures that ‘go bump in the night.’

3 miles, easy

Sleeping Giant

Saturday, June 3

Location: Helena

Leaders: Wayne Chamberlin and Joe Naiman-Sessions

This popular annual walk, lies within the Sleeping Giant Wilderness Study Area, and has been included in a list of Wilderness recommendations sent to Congress by the Bureau of Land Management. The trek takes you through open grassland, dry forest, and scree slopes to the summit of the Giant’s nose, where one will be rewarded with superlative views of the Missouri River, the Gates of the Mountains, and other west-central Montana mountain ranges.

8 miles, strenuous

Sleeping Giant

Sunday, June 4

Location: Helena

Leaders: Tom Kreissler and Laura Parr This popular annual walk, lies within the Sleeping Giant Wilderness Study Area, and has been included in a list of Wilderness recommendations sent to Congress by the Bureau of Land

Management. The trek takes you through open grassland, dry forest, and scree slopes to the summit of the Giant’s nose, where one will be rewarded with superlative views of the Missouri River, the Gates of the Mountains, and other west-central Montana mountain ranges.

8 miles, strenuous

Black Mountain

Saturday, June 10

Location: Helena

Leaders: Doug Powell and Sonia Powell

Explore the serene Black Mountain Proposed Wilderness Area, an area that has been under Wilderness consideration since the late 1980s. From Ten Mile Creek on the east slope of the Continental Divide to the trails of Helena’s south hills, Black Mountain sustains habitat for elk, mountain lion, bear, bobcat, and wolf. We will search for sensitive native plant species and observe and discuss ecological changes occurring on the forest in this wild and diverse landscape.

6 to 8 miles, moderately strenuous

Rogers Pass

Saturday, June 17

Location: Lincoln

Leaders: Maryalice Chester and Art Butler

This Father's Day hike travels north from Rogers Pass to a high point overlooking Cadotte Pass on the Continental Divide Trail. There will be spectacular views of the Scapegoat Wilderness and the Silver King Mountain area. Wildflowers are sure to be abundant, as the trail has both open slopes and forested areas. It's almost always windy up there, and squalls are common.

5 miles, moderate

Mann Gulch

Sunday, June 18

Location: Wolf Creek

Leaders: Bob Bukantis and Anne Anglim

This hike travels into the beautiful Mann Gulch area, the setting for the wildfire tragedy captured by several books, including Norman Maclean’s Young Men and Fire. In addition to visiting this historical site and learning about the events of August 1949, there will be beautiful views of the Missouri River and surrounding areas, wildflowers, and great companionship.

5 miles, strenuous

Lewis and Clark Pass

Sunday, June 25

Location: Lincoln

Leaders: Wilbur Rehmann and Larry Epstein

Celebrate the Corps of Discovery with a walk along this historic pass travelled by Meriwether Lewis on his return trip from the Pacific Ocean. Along the route one can see traces of ancient travois trail used by Native Americans and learn more about the history of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Captain Lewis explored the area on July 7, 1806, and in his journal wrote "…of discovering that this was the dividing ridge between the waters of the Columbia and those of the Missouri."

5 miles, moderate

Mount Edith

Saturday, July 1

Location: Townsend

Leaders: Anne Anglim and Bob Bukantis

This hike is a challenging and rewarding climb to the highest point in the Big Belt Mountains. This hike offers awesome wildflowers and, perhaps, mountain goats. The bulk of the hike is on-trail, except for the last part where one will cross an alpine meadow to a take in a panoramic view.

7 miles, extremely strenuous

Arrastra Creek

Saturday, July 8

Location: Lincoln

Leaders: Joe Naiman-Sessions and Hank Hudson

This hike along Arrastra Creek is a welcome respite from the heat of a Montana summer. Starting midway up the Porcupine Basin, the trail works its way into the Arrastra Creek drainage. The creek is clear and clean flowing providing lush vegetation in the valley and making excellent bear habitat. Huge spruce trees and beautiful wildflowers adorn on this hike along the Scapegoat Wilderness Boundary.

8 miles, moderately strenuous

Casey Meadows

Saturday, July 15

Location: Helena

Leader: Bill Hallinan

This hike through a roadless area, within the Elkhorn Wildlife Management Unit, passes through areas burned in the 1988 Warm Springs Fire, providing a fascinating look into the changing forest. The walk also travels through beautiful meadows and alongside portions of the East Fork of McClellan Creek and Jackson Creek, where one can enjoy beautiful views of the Helena Valley. Take your time and enjoy the area's views, wildness, plants, and signs of wildlife.

8 miles, moderately strenuous

Colorado Mountain

Sunday, July 16

Location: Helena

Leader: Bill Hallinan

Spend the day on a beautiful walk to the top of Colorado Mountain and Black Hall Meadows. From the top one is able to survey the scope of the South Helena Ten-Mile Proposed Restoration Project and see the Continental Divide Trail, as well as three Inventoried Roadless Areas.

5.5 miles, moderate

Nevada Mountain

Sunday, July 23

Location: Helena

Leaders: Laura Parr and Norane and Rob Freistadt

Explore the Nevada Mountain Roadless Area, one of the largest remaining roadless tracts in the Helena National Forest. We will enjoy beautiful panoramas and discuss the Helena-Lewis and Clark Forest planning process.

6 to 8 miles, moderately strenuous

McClellan Creek Headwaters

Sunday, July 30

Location: Montana City

Leaders: Nick Clarke and Kaelyn Clarke

This hike traverses into the unique and important Elkhorn Wildlife Management Unit. Begin by following Willard Creek to its confluence with McClellan Creek, an area that provides a fascinating look into the 1988 Warm Springs Fire ecology. The hike continues along McClellan Creek towards its headwaters in the northern portion of the roadless core of the Elkhorn Mountain Range.

6.5 miles, moderately strenuous

Refrigerator Canyon

Thursday, Aug. 24

Location: York

Leaders: Amanda Hagerty and Nathan Jones

Travel back in time as to unearth some of Montana's rich geologic history. The Refrigerator Gulch trail travels through a limestone canyon and eventually peers across limestone spires, which provide the ideal opportunity to see caves along the cliff faces. Caves, like wilderness areas provide wildlife habitat, solitude, and much more. Join cave explorers and learn about the connection between Wilderness and the subterranean world all from the comfort of the trail.

5 miles, moderate

Trout Creek Canyon

Saturday, Sept. 16

Location: York

Leader: Amanda Hagerty

Do you have what it takes to become an official Montana Wilderness Association Wilderness Explorer? This fun-filled hike geared for children ages 4–10 is a great way to learn more about our natural world and the role we play in it. This two-hour program will introduce youth to wild places and what it means for something to truly be wild.

3 miles, easy

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