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.
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.
The high country is generally free of snow by mid-July, and the hiking stays good through mid-September.
Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness Map; montanamaps.com/wil.pintlar.asp, $8
Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest: Wise River Ranger District, (406) 832-3178; Pintler Ranger District, (406) 859-3211; fs.fed.us/rl/bdnf for both