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Trail Mix: Mountain West

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Wildflowers in Indian Peaks, CO, an old climbers' trail in Wyoming, and more.

Hidden Montana: Absaroka Range

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The little-known Absaroka (ab-SOAR-kuh) Mountains are the largest single range in the Rockies, and they undoubtedly form the wild core of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. In their northern extremities, the Absarokas manifest their grandeur as steep, rugged spires, thanks to cliff-friendly blends of granite and gneiss. There among the pinnacles you'll find all the mountain wildlife of Yellowstone (mountain goats, bighorn sheep, elk, wolves and bears both black and brown), but with bigger, badder scenery and far fewer people.

Hidden Montana: Sawtooth Range

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Hidden Montana: Mission Mountains

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The Missions stand out even in northwest Montana, a region with no shortage of steep, crazed peaks. Travel in this glacially eroded landscape of dense evergreen forest, hidden lakes, tusk-like 9,000-foot summits and long, knife-edged ridgelines can be described in three simple terms: Steep. Rocky. Strenuous. Basecamping is the best plan.

Hidden Montana: Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness

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Fewer than 300 miles of trail crisscross the 158,615-acre Anaconda-Pintler, but only 45 miles along the CDT qualify as busy. At this northern latitude, treeline sits around 9,000 feet, and timberline regions are like bonsai gardens writ large; an aesthetic blend of spruce, fir, and the whimsical larch. The best way to experience it? A multiday immersion trek trip.

Hidden Montana: Beaverhead Range

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Rugged, scenic, and lightly traveled, the Beaverheads rise above Big Hole Valley's broad meadows as a skyline full of 10,000 foot summits with alpine lakes pooling at their feet. Outside of Montana, this place would be on every hiker's tick list, but here it fades into obscurity behind Glacier and the northern Bitterroots that loom above Missoula. Explore them shoreline to summit on these two hikes.

Hidden Montana

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No need to fight the crowds in Glacier or Yellowstone. Montana is full of life-list trips--you just have to know where to look.

Mountain Map: Glacier National Park, MT

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With 1,584 square miles of soaring peaks, alpine tundra, and yes, glaciers, this mountain mecca belongs on every hiker's life list. We rounded up five of our scouts' top treks in the Many Glacier region—so when you get there, you'll shoot straight to the park's best terrain.

Trail Mix: Great November Hikes in the West

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Your region's go-now guide: See newts on the move in California and bears heading for lower elevation in Beartooths, MT

The High Life: Granite Park Chalet, MT

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Discover Glacier's historic lodging.

2012 Glacier Unforgettable Sweepstakes Offical Rules

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Trail Mix: West

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Your region's go-now guide

Trail Mix: West

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Your region's go-now guide.

Burn After Reading

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Empty White Mountain summits. Tourist-free Yellowstone geysers. Rarely hiked Yosemite ridges. Rangers, guidebook writers, outfitters, and ultra-hikers dish their favorite routes for the first time.

Local Hikes

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Jump-start your hiking season on these spring-ready trips from around the country.

Readers' Choice 2012: Grasshopper Glacier, Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness, MT

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Visit a glacier with millions of extinct grasshoppers entombed in its ice.

Readers' Choice 2012: Reader Leader Contest Winners

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More than 150 of you entered our contest to become a BACKPACKER field scout. Meet the winners.

Readers' Choice 2012: Your Neck of the Woods - Mountain West Hikes

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Scramble on red rock, camp at alpine lakes, cross a high pass, explore a trailless moonscape, and bushwhack to a peak.

America's Best Backcountry Ski Tours

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Upgrade your winter fun at these 8 beginner-friendly, expert-ready spots.

Rip & Go: Hilgard Basin - Lee Metcalf Wilderness, MT

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Climb to a wonderland of tundra, rugged peaks, and dreamy lakes.

Big Wild Empty: The Bob Marshall Wilderness

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Think there's nothing wild left in the Lower 48? Don't tell the grizzlies on this traverse of the Bob Marshall Wilderness.

National Parks: Glacier

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Rule #1 when planning a hike through this iconic park: Let your ambition match the scenery.

National Parks: View Finder

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Go ahead, look again. And again. These images are worth a third, fourth, and then a tenth gaze.

National Parks: Yellowstone

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A forgotten explorer's route leads to off-trail, high-peak adventure and bona fide solitude.

Going to Extremes

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Can you ever really have too much of a good thing? Once you've seen the biggest tree, largest glacier, and deepest canyon, nothing else compares.

The High Life: Hiking Utah's Highline Trail

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Watch your step on Utah' Highline Trail. The nonstop views and rampant wildlife are distractingly spectacular. Plus: Gaze away on 9 more elevated hikes.

Local Hikes: Mountain West

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Hike these long trails in Montana, Idaho, Arizona, and Colorado, and raft an eight-mile section of the Arkansas River.

Right Place, Perfect Time

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See Yosemite's river of ice, witness there-and-gone meteor showers in Hawaii, and mark your calendar for eight more fleeting natural wonders.

America's Best-Kept Secrets

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The only thing better than enjoying the life-list scenery in the country's premier national parks? Getting that same scenery, minus the crowds. Find it in these 10 backcountry hotspots, along with no-hassle permits, choice campsites aplenty, and solitude to match the world-class terrain.

Get Higher: Best Firetower Hikes

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For sheltered scenery high above the trees, there's no better place than a fire tower. Try one of these editor-approved hikes to backcountry rooms with a view.

Local Hikes: Mountain West

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Hike Denver's lost wilderness, a twofer of peaks in Idaho, lava tubes in New Mexico, Zion's sneak route, and Bozeman's trout-filled lake.

Right Place, Perfect Time: Golden Eagle Gathering

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Soar with the world's largest migration.

America's Best-Kept Secrets: Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex, MT

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Readers' Choice 2011: America's Best Hikes

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The undisputed local experts—you—chose the top parks, trails, campsites, and weekend getaways from Alaska to Alabama.

Readers' Choice: Rockies

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Your favorite parks, weekend getaways, peak ascents, campsites, and more in the Rockies.

Trip Finder: Rockies

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Your favorite Rockies hikes—from dayhikes to weekenders to multiday trips.

Our Backyard: Glacier National Park

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Trek through grizzly terrain in Glacier National Park.

Best. Hikes. Ever.

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We've covered 245,591 miles of trails in our 37-year history. Here are our 20 all-time favorite trips, plus—shocking!—20 routes we never covered.

Best Hikes Ever: Logging Lake Trail, MT

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Hike a forested, fire-scarred trail between two iconic pools.

Local Hikes: Bozeman, MT

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The best hikes near Bozeman, MT.

Local Hikes: Mountain West

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The best local hikes in Colorado, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Montana.

The Peak: Triple Divide Peak, Glacier NP

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In Glacier National Park, summit a mountain that feeds three oceans.

Rip & Go: Watchtower to Sheephead Loop - Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, MT/ID

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Have rocky ridges and sparkling alpine lakes all to yourself.

Glacier's Gladiator: Harvey Locke's Glacier National Park Mission

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For 20 years, Harvey Locke has fought to protect the park's Flathead River.

Secret Hikes: Glacier National Park

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Score wildlife sightings daily, choice views hourly--and at least one juicy burger--on this weeklong circuit.

Secret Hikes of the National Parks

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The perfect dozen: Embark on one of these 12 treks, and turn America's most iconic preserves into your own private paradise.

Local Hikes: Mountain West

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Spot a grizzly, basecamp amid Fourteeners, and relax in secluded hot springs. (Click linked trips for GPS waypoints, photos, and more.)

Glacier's Greatest: Screen It

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Score wildlife sightings daily, choice views hourly--and at least one juicy burger--on this weeklong circuit. Northwest editor Michael Lanza shows you how with a GPS tracklog and Google flyover video..

America's 10 Most Dangerous Hikes

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Like your life and limbs intact? Then you'd better get skilled before visiting these trails.

Print & Go Weekend Trip Planners

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Free Print & Go PDFs give you turn-by-turn trail instructions and photos embedded on a usable topo map. Also: gear checklists, driving directions, and geo-references for finding the nearest campground, restaurant, gas station, and grocery store.

Northern Rockies: Dawson Pass Loop, Glacier National Park

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See the best of Montana without the crowds.

National Parks Hall of Fame: Best Wildlife

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Who ever said out of sight, out of mind was certainly not referring to the wealth of wildlife that are making some big noise in Thorofare Valley.

Vanishing Act: Explore Yellowstone's Northern Fringe

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Disappear into Yellowstone's secret northern fringe, where you'll find a rejuvenated landscape and total solitude (except for the bison and grizzlies).

Top 3 Battlefield Hikes

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Close your eyes and hear the bullets fly: These three routes pass through parks drenched in United States military history.

Free Maps! Our Contributors Favorite Local Hikes

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Online or via your cellphone these trips are ready to be downloaded and explored.

Rip & Go: Wood Lake - Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, MT

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Cross the Stillwater Plateau to trout-rich ponds at the foot of Montana's second highest peak.

Insider's Guide: Yellowstone

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From camping with wolves to fly-fishing smarts this insider's guide has you covered.

Natural Wonders: Ice Caves, Bison, and Huckleberries

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Three treks to life-list phenomena

Hike It, Save It: Scotchman Peaks, Montana/Idaho

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Development, bureaucracy, and apathy threaten this Glacier-like mecca, home to grizzlies, fields of beargrass, and superlative alpine hiking.

America's Best Dayhikes

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From dawn-to-dusk epics in Utah canyons to lazy-picnic blueberry strolls in Maine–plus hikes to peaks, redwoods, hot springs, beaches, and more–here are 100 ways to spend a perfect day on the trail.

Trip Finder: Waterfall Hikes

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Nine ways to get your cascade fix from Tennessee to Montana.

National Parks Hall of Fame: Best Alpine Hike

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Live longer, take the North Circle Route. Glacier's highcountry views and crisp alpine air are rumored to add years to a backpacker's being.

Master the Steeps: High-Angle Hiking Trails

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First, check out our tips for healthy hiking on steep terrain in the May 2009 issue then, put them to the test on one of our favorite high-angle trails from California to North Carolina.

Weekend Snow Climbs in the Pacific Northwest, Rockies, and Northeast

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Pack snowshoes for these nine epic treks to snowy solitude in the Pacific Northwest, Rockies, and Northeast.

Ten Epic Hikes

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Paddling, hiking, testing self arrest skills–we cover it all in these 10 epic trips throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

Highpoint Montana

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Get vertical on a tricky class IV route to the top of Granite peak.

Bear Patrol in Glacier

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Traverse the wildest part of the lower 48's last great grizzly hideaway.

Top 3 Fire Tower Hikes

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Want a backcountry room with a view? Climb these lookouts from Vermont to Washington.

America's 10 Most Dangerous Hikes - Huckleberry Mtn., Apgar Range, MT

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Fatten griz for winter

Trip Finder: Ridgewalks

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From the West Coast to the Rocky Mountains to New England, we've got nine epic ridgewalks just for you.

The Continental Divide Trail Project

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We sent 209 readers out to GPS the Continental Divide Trail, the biggest, baddest, long-distance path of them all. They brought back the makings of the first authoritative map of this American classic. Here, read the Backpacker Blog on the project, and view three exclusive on-the-trail video.

Hike Montana's Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness

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This wilderness area houses a classic section of the CDT but is a little off the beaten path.

Searching for Solitude: Mark Jenkins Photos and Interview

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In "Destination Nowhere" (September 2008), Mark Jenkins explores the most remote wilderness location in the continental United States–a top-secret spot in Yellowstone. See his trip photos and read an interview with Jenkins where he discusses the assignment.

Time 2 Go See Wild Horses

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From Florida to Wyoming, track wild horses for four hours or 10 days.

Adventure Guide: Glacier National Park

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Explore six new routes through the most rugged, scenic, and wildife-rich mountains in the Lower 48.

Paddling's Greatest Getaways

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16 wild ways to find backcountry solitude and big-time scenery. All this, and you can bring the ice chest, too.

Hike Glacier National Park

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Visitors to Montana's Glacier National Park can visit on the cheap or pay an arm and a leg -- but each way has its unique charms.

Time 2 Go: See Newborn Animals

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Looking to catch baby animals taking their first step? You can't go wrong with these picks.

High Points: Granite Peak, Montana

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The toughest high point in the lower 48

Up High Down Below: 3 Top Peaks in the Lower 48

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Can't make it to Canada? Try Glacier Peak, Baker Peak, or Catamount Mountain

Hike Glacier National Park's Triple Divide Peak

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The ultimate continental divide and a legendary mountaineering traverse

Expedition Planner: Glacier National Park, MT

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Get more Glacier hiking ideas in our online exclusive

Glacier National Park

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3 hidden hikes in our readers' favorite backpacking park

Montana, Grinnell Glacier, Glacier National Park

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The most-studied glacier in the park lets you see global warming in action.

Iceberg Lake, Glacier National Park

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Some of the most classic glacier scenery is offered to all visitors of this national park.

Wild Weddings

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Want a ceremony that reflects your passion for the outdoors? Here's everything you need to know to pull off a wilderness wedding.

Hiking Montana's Lonely Mountains

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Hidden deep in Montana's high country lies the Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness, a seldom-visited range of cool forests and skyscraping peaks.

Best Backpacking In Montana

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Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in Montana.

Firewalking: A Forest Fire's Aftermath

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In an ancient cycle older than man, the fires that torched the West in summer 2000 are causing a dramatic and stunning rebirth of the once-charred landscape.

Death On Montana's Granite Peak

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High on a Montana mountain, the mystery of a long-lost climber continues to unravel for those willing to make the arduous trek and search for clues that literally lie at your feet.

Bob Marshall's 100th Year

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When venturing into country "untrammeled by man," we can thank Marshall's unlimited efforts to preserve it.

National Parks: Best Overall Park

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Glacier National Park possesses scenery that'll suck the breath out of your lungs, quiet so intense you'll wonder if your ears still work, and enough wildlife to make a zookeeper drool with envy.

Hiking Montana's Cabinet Mountains

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The French-Canadian trappers are long gone, but the grizzlies and waterfalls remain in this alpine nirvana.

Quest For The Jackalope

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Is the legendary jackalope the most endangered species in the Lower 48 or just an old cowboy tale that refuses to die?

Absaroka's Wildlife Needs Your Help

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Montana and Wyoming's incredibly wild and beautiful Absaroka needs your help.

Running With Mustangs In Montana's Pryor Mountains

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Montana: The Pryor Mountains harbor the nation's last free-roaming wild mustangs, not to mention wilderness that is as wild as the horses.

Editor's Choice: Bowman Lake, Glacier National Park

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Bears electrify an already incredible experience at Glacier National Park's Bowman Lake.

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