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.
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Upper Carp Lake (Steve Howe)
Turquoise Lake (Jeremie Hollman)
Photo by Doug Roane
Black Mountain and Pine Creek (Doug Roane)
East Pintler Peak reflects into Johnson Lake (Steve Howe)
Timberline park lands near Homer Youngs (Steve
Wilderness—the real kind, where bears roam the mountainsides, trout leap from tiny alpine lakes, and national park crowds are far, far away—is alive and well in the treasure state. here are eight places to get you started.
Heart Lake and Homer Youngs Peak
The secret: Idyllic elk meadows and an imposing summit lie just a few miles from a little-used trail.
Ajax Lake and Ajax Peak
The secret: A long dirt-road approach to the trailhead dissuades most hikers from attempting this magnificent summit, but they don’t know about the five-star car camping en route.
Six Lakes Walkabout
The secret: To find the best of the Anaconda, head off-trail past isolated tarns, over high ridgelines, and around an iconic peak.
The secret: Hike to the shore of a half-mile long lake for mountain vistas and gold-medal cutthroat fishing.
Rocky Mountain and Old Baldy
The secret: Discover a wide-open view over the vast Bob Marshall Wilderness from this solitary summit.
Northern Cabinets Thru-Hike
The secret: Explore a new route across one of America’s most beautiful-and overlooked-ranges.
The secret: Pick a sneak route up the region’s tallest summit.
Pine Creek Lake and Black MountainThe secret: Keep climbing when others turn back to reach the lake-filled foreground-or the top-of this steep, dark-mountain castle.