Riding - Hiking - Spring Flowers - Photography
This is a beautiful week in the back country. We don't see many people this time of year, but we do see lots of wildlife and lots of wild flowers. Due to the nature of higher mountain valleys, spring comes a later than most anywhere else. We usually cross hardened snow drifts on the mountain passes, and often snow will linger in the shady areas quite a ways down the valleys. In the lower Sun River Valley, where this trip primarily travels, the snow is melted off, and the grass and trees are bursting with spring foliage. By far this is the most colorful trip of the year as all the mountain wildflowers are out in splendor. Additionally, the wildlife is more common at the end of June as they are moving from winter range to summer range, chasing the green grass as they go higher in elevation. The rivers and streams will be full with winter run off. There isn't much for fishing this time of year due to he murky nature of the streams.
Day 1: Pack up early at Middle Fork Teton trailhead. We proceed up the Middle Fork Teton trail to it's source, where we cross Route Creek Pass (elev 7,200) and drop gradually down into Route Creek. Route Creek Pass is one of the earliest passes into the mountains to open up, and we ocassionally will see a little snow in shaded areas and possibly cross some hardened drifts. The upper Middle Fork and Route Creek valleys are open with amazing views and tons of photo opportunities. You also have a great chance to see wildlife on this trail. We eat lunch at the confluence of Nesbit and Route Creek. From here we proceed down Route Creek to the Sun River trail, and then down the Sun River to Gates Park camp. The lower Route Creek trail is timbered and shaded, but once we get near the Sun River we ride along spectacular bluffs above the river and can see miles in either direction as we make our way to Gates Park. Riding distance 18 miles.
Day 2: Non travel day. We explore the area by foot to Gates Park meadows, or take a day ride to Biggs Creek Meadows. Both offer some great vistas of the gorgeous Sun River valley and surrounding mountains. The mountains will be covered in snow which contracts starkly with the bright green lush valleys. Riding distance can be 6 miles.
Day 3: Non travel day. We take another day to check out the area with a nice ride down to Rock Creek or potentially up to Bear Top fire lookout. Both offer some outstanding views and excellent chances to wildlife along the trail. Riding distance 10 miles.
Day 4: Pack up early and ride down river to Glenn Creek. The ride along the west side of the Sun River goes in and out of hidden mountain meadows and then back into the timber. The lower Sun River valley opens up dramatically and we camp along the North Fork. This is a gradual ride with very little elevation change as we meander down the river. Riding distance 10 miles.
Day 5: Non travel day. We explroe the area by foot on the open ridges above Glenn Creek. Or we can take a day ride across the river to Elk Hill with wide open views of the 20+ mile long Sun River valley. There isn't a bad photo to be had on this day. If the river is cleared up the fishing on the lower river starts to heat up.
Day 6: Pack up and head up Biggs Creek to the pass between it and the South Fork Deep Creek. We ride early through the vast meadows of Biggs Creek before entering more timbered high country of Deep Creek. This is a lightly used trail this time of year. We rarely see anyone else but we do see wildlife and the wildflowers along this trail are amazing. The South Fork is a high mountain valley and our campsite is nestled below Rocky Mountain, the highest peak in many miles. This is a unique and beautiful campsite. Riding distance 16 miles.
Day 7: Pack up early and ride out Green Gulch to the South Fork trailhead. This trail is open for the first half of the day as we cross into the North Fork of Deep Creek and Slim Gulch. The valleys are narrow and dramatic with cliffs rising above us and grassy slopes all around. The ride down Green Gulch is timbered, which is a nice advantage on a hot day. We come out at the South Fork Teton road. Riding distance 10 miles.
This trip offers a healthy dose of horseback riding and day-hiking adventures. Every campsite has tons of options for day hike or day riding activities. The rides between campsites are through mostly open meadows and average about 12 miles per day. The wildlife are abundant, and the wildflowers are amazing this time of year. This is the best trip for for photography of wildlife and wildflowers. If you are a professional photographer, or aspiring amateur, bring the appropriate lenses, etc as you'll find you are using them extensively.
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.
Additionally, this trip comes out on 7/2. If your schedule permits, we encourage you to take advantage of our Choteau 4th of July activities. This is a great western 4th experience in our small town, which draws thousands of visitors from around the region. There will be parades, fireworks, and of course a western rodeo. Great family fun and lots of things to do right after your trip ends.
While this trip goes out in late June, the temps and weather you will experience is mountain spring-like conditions. Expect mild days with chilly nights. Layers are key to comfort, and you should always bring comfortable rain gear to ride or hike in. Comfortable hiking/riding boots are a must. Your sleeping bag should be comfortable to about 30F, though it rarely gets quite that cold. Daytime temps will be in the 70's, and we will not get days in the 80's in the mountains this time of year. Please take a look at the downloadable PDF below for additional detail.