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Hike Montana’s Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness

This wilderness area houses a classic section of the CDT but is a little off the beaten path.
Backpacker_Magazine_Kurt_Peak_and_Queener_MountainKurt Peak and Queener Mountain, Scott Bischke

On your final day, climb yet two more passes named Rainbow and Pintler (exhibits A and B in uninspired naming), losing and gaining elevation in 1,000- to 2,000-foot gulps. Bypass Oreamnos Lake, the most heavily used spot on the route, and tromp down the eight-mile descent to the Pintler Creek trailhead. Now you’re ready: Raise a glass to your own private wilderness preserve.

The Way
From Anaconda, take MT 1 west 15 miles. Turn left/south on FS 675 and follow it another 15 miles to the Storm Lake trailhead (the last mile or two may require 4WD). To reach the Pintler Creek trailhead, follow MT 43 off of I-15 (south of Butte) to the well-maintained FS 185.

Season
The high country is generally free of snow by mid-July, and the hiking stays good through mid-September.

Map
Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness Map; montanamaps.com/wil.pintlar.asp, $8

Contact
Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest: Wise River Ranger District, (406) 832-3178; Pintler Ranger District, (406) 859-3211; fs.fed.us/rl/bdnf for both

Permit
None required.

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