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There are now about 70,000 bighorn sheep living in North America. Much of their historical range no longer supports bighorn populations and Interstate Highways have cut off once-connected mountain ranges. (photo by Jon Chance)

About 750,000 years ago, the ancestors of the Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep crossed the Bering Land Bridge from Siberia into Alaska. From there, they spread throughout the West, finding homes in rocky terrain from Canada down to northern Mexico.

Explore one – or all – of these five alpine lakes this summer (photo by Laurie Thornton)

Fortunately for us in Montana, options abound for exploring new peaks, hidden trails, or some of the crown jewels of the Montana backcountry: alpine lakes.

Zelzin Aketzalli hiked the Continental Divide Trail in 2019, completing the third leg of the Triple Crown (photo by Michael Casarrubia)

Zelzin Aketzalli completed her first thru-hike in 2017 when she tackled the Pacific Crest Trail. By 2019, she had completed the Triple Crown – comprised of three long-distance hiking trails totaling 7,900 miles that cross 22 states.

The top of the Snowcrests provides nearly 10 miles of rewarding ridge walking and expansive views (photo by Zack Porter)

The Snowcrests showcase rugged peaks well over 10,000 feet high. Teeming with wildlife, including elk, bighorn sheep, grizzlies, black bears, mountain lions, and more, you’re almost certain to spot an animal while exploring.

Wild westslope cutthroat trout, caught and released (photo by C.S. Nafzger/Shutterstock)

In addition to hybridization, habitat loss and degradation have also contributed to the cutthroat’s reduced range in Montana.

Originally built to give the Forest Service access the forest over the Kootenai River, the swinging bridge outside of Libby was rebuilt after a flood in 1984 destroyed its foundation (photo by Kevin League)

Spanning 2.2 million acres in the northwest corner of the state, the Kootenai National Forest is one of the largest national forests in Montana.