VTC – Big Pryor Mountain

Home Discover the Wild Volunteer Trail Crew VTC – Big Pryor Mountain
Photo by Meg Killen

Project: Big Pryor Mountain

Landscape: Pryor Mountains

Dates: June 24 - 27, 2021

Location: Big Pryor Mountain Trail - Custer Gallatin Natl. Forest, Beartooth R.D.
Project Work: Trail Maintenance
Camping: Frontcountry Car Camping
Project Difficulty: Strenuous
Volunteer Limit: 8
Volunteer Slots Available: FULL
Meeting Time: Thursday, June 24 at 7 p.m.
Meeting Place: Sage Creek Ranger Station



Project Description

MWA is thrilled to be heading into the Pryor Mountains! We need your help to begin a legacy of service in this treasured landscape. Volunteers will be working on a trail leading toward the top of Big Pryor Mountain, one of Montana's ten most prominent peaks. The crew will be performing heavy maintenance work, primarily retreading by widening and grading the trail. We will also be brushing out vegetative growth encroaching in the trail corridor. These tasks are all essential to keeping the trail in good shape for years of continued use!

Each day we will have a 2.5 mile uphill hike to the worksite. Plus, the digging is tough work. Please make sure you're ready for a strenuous outing. If you live in eastern Montana and have always wanted a trail project closer to your backyard, this is your chance to show we'll come out strong. It is also a great opportunity for those who live farther away and have always wanted to explore the Pryor Mountains. Sign up today to spend a weekend reveling in one of Montana's most special landscapes. Your efforts will make a positive impact and ensure there is a place for quiet recreation in the Pryor Mountains.

About the Area

Courtesy of The Pryors Coalition:
"The Pryor Mountains are...geologically, ecologically, meteorologically, and culturally unique – an island of mountains rising from the prairie, formed by the erosion of uplifted limestone instead of glacier-carved granite. The numerous, rugged, and spectacular limestone canyons provide viewpoints from which to share the solitude with the intermittent, quiet, and haunting call of the hermit thrush.

"[J]ust 40 miles south of Montana’s largest city and just north of the Wyoming border, [the Pryors are] comprised of two uplifted mountain blocks – East Pryor Mountain and Big Pryor Mountain.  Deeply cut by numerous rugged limestone canyons, the south and west slopes of each block rise gradually from the prairie to sub-alpine prairie plateaus peaking at about 8,800 feet. The east and north faces of each block drop precipitously by several thousand feet. Spectacular Crooked Creek Canyon drains from north to south between the two blocks.

"Within a distance of ten miles as the raven flies, you can travel from Montana’s most arid red desert in the double rain shadow of both the Beartooths and the Pryors (with less than 5 inches of precipitation per year), to high douglas fir forests and subalpine meadows. The rich variety of habitats in between include sagebrush, riparian cottonwood, mountain mahogany, limber pine, juniper (up to 500 years old), and much more. Nearly 1,000 species of plants have been identified on this island in the prairie – that is 40% of the plant species that grow in all of Montana. The diverse habitats in the Pryors are home to a similar diversity of birds, butterflies and other wildlife ranging from bighorn sheep, mule deer, black bear, mountain lion, and ten species of bats to golden eagles, peregrine falcons, blue-gray gnatcatchers, and calliope hummingbirds. "

For more information about the Pryors, make sure to check out The Pryors Coalition webpage.

Meeting Time & Place

Thursday, June 24, 7 p.m. at Sage Creek Ranger Station

The Sage Creek Ranger Station is located southeast of the Sage Creek Campground. Directions to Sage Creek Campground are presented in excellent detail on this Pryor's Coalition webpage. The first set of directions listed on the Forest Service webpage for the Sage Creek Campground will also work. A high clearance vehicle with four-wheel drive is highly recommended for travel in the Pryors.

To reach the Sage Creek Ranger Station, turn south off Forest Service Road #73/Pryor Mountain Road approximately 200 feet east of the turn for the Sage Creek Campground. Continue south for aprox. one-half mile and the road dead ends at the Sage Creek Ranger Station.

Camping Details

We will be frontcountry car camping near the Sage Creek Ranger Station, a short drive from the Sage Creek Campground. This will be a primitive campsite. There is a pit toilet on site but no potable water. 

Food and Water

MWA will provide all meals and cooking equipment. However, please arrive Thursday evening having already eaten or prepared to make your own supper. Your first meal provided will be breakfast and lunch fixings on Friday. The last meal provided will be lunch on Sunday. Dinner is not provided on Sunday evening.

Volunteers are expected to help with food preparation and clean up on a rotating basis, but your crew leader will handle primary kitchen responsibilities. Since no potable water is available at the campground, please help by bringing drinking water with you for the weekend.

More Information