Wild Life - Exploring Montana

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Blooming cactus with the Sweetgrass Hills in the background (photo by Janice Hendrickson)

There’s still snow covering Montana’s high country, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of places to get out on the trail.

Soapweed yucca blooms on the rim of eastern Montana's Terry Badlands Wilderness Study Area (WSA) at sunset. (photo by Kevin League)

The Terry Badlands span 44,000 acres just a few miles northwest of Terry in eastern Montana. The Bureau of Land Management has managed the land as a wilderness study area since the 1970s, which has helped the wild character of the land remain.

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.

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.

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. 

Trail from Crystal Lake to the Ice Caves in the Snowies (photo by Ellen Whittle)

For those seeking to enjoy a day away from heavily-trafficked trails, the Ice Cave Loop Trail in the Big Snowy Mountains offers a unique opportunity to explore one of Montana’s lesser-known island ranges and a 100-foot-wide cave that features ice year-round.