Fly Fishing - Scenery - Riding - Photography
This is our most popular combination fishing-travel trip. We start at the headwaters of the Teton River west of Choteau, and slowly work our way down the Sun River towards our endpoint at Benchmark. This trips is a fantastic combination of great fly fishing and unmatched scenery. As we move down the North Fork Sun River we weave through old growth timber and pristine meadows alongside the river. The views of the river below and the snowclad mountain valleys surrounding us along our days is stunning. Towards the end of the trip we cross into the South Fork Sun valley and camp at Pretty Prairie, one of the most unique and picturesque places in the Bob Marshall. The riding days are modest in difficulty and generally shorter duration.
Day 1: Pack up at the South Fork Teton trailhead. The ride over Headquarters Pass (elevation 7,700 ft) is truly a highlight of the trip - and it's only the first 2 hours in!! The trail from the basin below the pass begins a gradual descent along Headquarters Creek to the North Fork Sun River valley. Along the way we have wide open vistas. We often see wildlife along this ride as is a natural corridor for traveling elk, black bear, deer, and other critters. Camp this evening is our semi-permanent camp ont he Sun River at Gates Park. Riding distance 14 miles.
Day 2: Non travel day. For the riders, we explore Biggs Creek Meadows or Beartop Lookout nearby. These are superb day riding destinations with amazing views. The fishermen will want to get to the North Fork and be prepared for world class dry fly fishing. On a good day you can catch 60+ fish on dry flies and some holes you'll get a fish on every cast. It's unmatched almost anywhere in the world.
Day 3: We pack up this day for an easy ride down river to the Glenn Creek camp on the banks of the North Fork. The ride down the river is a gentle grade meandering through forest glades and broad meadows. The camp area is in a broad meadow with immense views. This is an easy camp with tons of hiking options if you want to go explore that afternoon. We'll spend 2 nights at this camp. Riding distance is 10 miles.
Day 4: Non travel day. A great day to check things out with a day ride to Elk Hill, or a hike up to Glenn Knobs, or of course hit the river right away. The North Fork is a larger stream here as it's picked up several tributaries. This is a superb fishing camp with lots of open water to try. This section of river is characteristic of a broad valley river, meandering gently back and forth across the valley. The holes are deep and the water crystal clear. The fly fishing here is also outstanding with plenty of water to spread out and enjoy.
Day 5: We pack up and head down river towards the South Fork. We cross over a low pass between the two drainages, and drop gently into the South Fork valley. This is a remarkable picturesque ride as we ride through seemingly endless valley meadows, hidden parks, and scattered timber with glimpses of the river all along the way. We often see elk along this route. There are innumerable photo opportunities along the way and you'll not be ready for the day to end when we get to Pretty Prairie. Riding distance 11 miles.
Day 6: Non travel day. We camp right on the South Fork river, at the edge of a large meadow running along the river. This campsite is also rich in opportunity for the fishermen and non fishermen. The river is larger here than the North Fork, but still easily crossed on foot. The fishing is just as good, and there is a whole lot of river to explore. Riding and hiking options are also rich, either right from camp, or possibly exploring the West Fork natural salt licks, or maybe Prairie Creek. Hiking is as easy as setting a direction and going. The ridges are open and the valley is easily navigated.
Day 7: We pack up for a short ride up the South Fork to the Benchmark trailhead. This is a gentle ride as we gradually climb the valley floor. We cross the West Fork of the Sun and see the soaring Flathead Alps and Continental Divide in the distance to the west. We work our way through grassy benches and timber as we move up the South Fork trail. Benchmark is a beautiful and popular trailhead where our crew will be waiting for us. Often, at the end of this trip we unload your gear and pack up the gear for the next trip. In these cases we'll leave the camp set up and a camp-tender at Pretty Prairie on the last day. The ride is a short 6 miles and takes just over 2 hours to get from camp to Benchmark.
This trip is rich in opportunity for fishermen and non-fishermen. There are enormous opportunities each day for riding and hiking and exploring. Of course, the trip is designed for an exceptional fly fishing experience and you will not find anything similar in North America. Each lay over (non traveling) day is set up for fishing a different stretch of river, and on most travel days you'll have the opportunity to fish in the afternoon as well.
Of particular interest, due to the absolute remote nature of the Bob Marshall, there is zero light polution, and near perfectly clear skies. The deep evening star gazing is intensely beautful, where you can see brilliantly our evening constellations, the Milky Way galaxy, and numerous shooting stars. This is a unique and rare opportunity to see our night time sky in a way you've not seen it before. The days are long out here, so plan on staying up late as sunset is about 10pm.
The weather this time of year is hot and dry. Expect days in the 80's and nights in the 50's. We get the ocassional thunderstorm, but rarely extended rain or cold fronts. You won't need a heavy coat, but a sweater for cooler nights and early morning is a good idea. Riding pants or blue jeans are important, and a hat for sun protection is also recommended. This is a peak season for horseflies and mosquitoes and as we will be near water most of the time it is wise to bring appropriate coverage and repellent. Wading boots/shoes with traction on slick rocks is a must, as well as riding or hiking boots. You won't need much more than that for foot wear. The fishermen will need lots of flies! Additdional detail in the attached pdf documents will help you identify other important gear.