The Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex

Bob Marshall Wilderness in relation to Central Montana
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The Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex includes over one million acres of protected wilderness lands. No paved roads bisect the area which is managed by the US Forest Service. Coniferous forest, river valleys, rugged peaks, alpine lakes, waterfalls and grassy meadows can all be seen in this spectacular area. In addition, wildlife abounds. Elk, whitetail and mule deer, grizzly and black bears, gray wolves, lynx, bobcats, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, cougars, wolverines, beaver and river otters make their home in the wilderness complex. Birds common to the area include bald eagles, falcons, hawks, owls, grouse, woodpeckers, Steller’s jays, Clark’s nutcracker, camp robbers, chickadees and nuthatches.

Bob Marshall was a forester and conservationist whose vision was to protect the area with a wilderness designation. Shortly after he died in 1940, the US Secretary of Agriculture designated 950,000 acres as wilderness. In 1964, the Wilderness Act was passed by the US Congress and the Bob Marshall Wilderness received statutory wilderness protection. Today, the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex includes the Scapegoat Wilderness, Great Bear Wilderness and the Bob Marshall Wilderness.

The Bob Marshall Wilderness (locally referred to as “The Bob”) follows the Continental Divide for 60 miles. Elevations range from 4,000 feet to 9,000 feet. It is the most completely preserved mountainous ecosystem in the lower 48 states. A 22 mile long unbroken escarpment known as the Chinese Wall (also called the Lewis overthrust), has heights of over 1,000 feet. The highest point in the “Bob” is Rocky Mountain with an elevation of 9,393. Rocky Mountain is located on the east slope with the best access from Choteau.

The Sun River Game Preserve (no hunting) lies on the eastern edge of the Bob Marshall Wilderness. This preserve was established in the late 1920s as a refuge for elk, deer, grizzlies and other wildlife. It remains an important winter range for area elk herds.

Bob Marshall Wilderness entrance points from Central Montana include Choteau, Benchmark/Augusta area, Gibson Reservoir/Dam, and the Birch Creek area. Click here to download Trailhead/Access Point directions and maps document provided by the Lewis & Clark National Forest.

Maps of the Bob Marshall Wilderness complex are available from the Rocky Mountain Ranger District office in Choteau year round (406-466-5341) or Augusta seasonally (406-562-3247).

Central Montana outfitters servicing the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex

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