rocky mountain front birding trails


At the Rocky Mountain Ranger Station in Choteau, check grizzly bear reports, road and trail conditions, and closures. Buy Forest Service Travel Map, topo maps, for hiking, here or locally.

General Information

Routes across grasslands with curlews, then move into rugged canyons, more open on Augusta loop than Choteau‘s. The Front, a wilderness gateway, supports game populations including the nation’s largest herd of bighorn sheep. Birds thrive as well. Best viewing depends on elevation, mid-May to mid-July at lowest, early June to mid-August at highest elevation. No fees.

Choteau Loop

From US 89 in Choteau, drive 5 miles north, turn west on Teton Canyon Road towards Eureka Reservoir. Drive 17 miles, turn at South Fork Teton sign, cross bridge. Turn right shortly, towards Ear Mountain Outstanding Natural Area, drive 10 miles to the Our Lake trailhead at the end, with stop on road at Nature Conservancy bridge. Backtrack to Bellview Cutacross. Continue 4.5 miles to Pine Butte Swamp. At next 'T' intersection, turn left on Bellview Road, go 19 miles to US 287, then left to Choteau.

Augusta Loop

From US 287 in Augusta follow signs towards Benchmark, taking FR235 past Nilan Reservoir, Double Falls, Wood Lake, Benchmark air strip, Benchmark Campground, to South Fork Campground. Retrace to Beaver/Willow Road, drive north (passing McCarty Hill) 13 miles, then follow signs to Gibson Reservoir. Follow signs to campground, boat launch parking and North Fork Trail. Leave Gibson Dam, turn towards Augusta; right at 'T' in 15 miles; 4.8 miles to second entrance on south edge of Sun River Wildlife Management Area (open May 15 - Dec. 1). Retrace to last 'T' intersection, drive 6 miles to Augusta.