Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex

Together, the Great Bear, Bob Marshall, and Scapegoat Wildernesses form the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex, an area of more than 1.5 million acres. The Flathead National Forest manages the largest portion of this Wilderness Complex. This is the third largest wilderness complex in the lower 48 states. They are managed by three national forests - Flathead, Helena-Lewis and Clark, and Lolo, and five ranger districts - Spotted Bear, Hungry Horse, Lincoln, Rocky Mountain, and Seeley Lake.


Bob Marshall Wilderness

Chinese Wall Bob Marshall WildernessThe United States Congress designated the Bob Marshall Wilderness in 1964 and it now has a total of 1,009,352 acres. The entire wilderness is in Montana. It is managed by the Spotted Bear and Rocky Mountain Ranger Districts. The Bob Marshall Wilderness was named after early forester, wilderness preservation pioneer, and Wilderness Society cofounder Bob Marshall. This region was set aside as the South Fork, Pentagon, and Sun River Primitive Areas in 1941, and designated as wilderness in 1964. Here is one of the most completely preserved mountain ecosystems in the world, the kind of wilderness most people can only imagine: rugged peaks, alpine lakes, cascading waterfalls, grassy meadows embellished with shimmering streams, a towering coniferous forest, and big river valleys.

Scapegoat Wilderness

Scapegoat WildernessThe United States Congress designated the Scapegoat Wilderness in 1972 and it now has a total of 239,936 acres. The entire wilderness is in Montana. It is managed by the Rocky Mountain, Lincoln, and Seeley Lake Ranger Districts. The long northwest border of Scapegoat Wilderness is shared with Bob Marshall Wilderness and the massive limestone cliffs that dominate 9,204-foot Scapegoat Mountain are an extension of the "Bob's" Chinese Wall. Scapegoat's rugged ridge tops slope down onto alpine meadows, heavily forested hillsides, and timbered river bottoms. Fish are plentiful in the 14 lakes and 89 miles of streams. Elevations range from about 5,000 feet on the Blackfoot River to about 9,400 feet on Red Mountain. Wildlife includes wolverines, moose, deer, elk, mountain goats, mountain sheep, mountain lions, black bears, and numerous grizzly bears.

Great Bear Wilderness

Great Northern MountainThe United States Congress designated the Great Bear Wilderness in 1978 and it now has a total of 286,700 acres. The entire wilderness is in Montana. It is managed by the Spotted Bear and Hungry Horse Ranger Districts. This Wilderness, on the western side of the Continental Divide, shares its southern border with Bob Marshall Wilderness, which in turn shares its southern border with Scapegoat Wilderness. Glacier National Park lies just across U.S. 2 to the north of Great Bear. Grizzly bear, lynx, wolverine, deer, elk, moose, black bear, mountain goat, and mountain sheep roam about these rugged ridge tops, gently sloping alpine meadows, and thickly forested river bottoms.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex Trail Conditions. Trail conditions can change quickly, and areas may be closed during emergencies such as wildfire. Please contact the Ranger District for the area you will be visiting before you travel into the back country.
Information Center:

Flathead National Forest

Hungry Horse Ranger District
10 Hungry Horse Drive
Hungry Horse, MT 59919
(406) 387-3800
Spotted Bear Ranger District
Spotted Bear, MT
(406) 387-3800 (winter)
(406) 758-5376 (summer)

Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest

Lincoln Ranger District
1569 Highway 200
Lincoln, MT 59639
(406) 362-7000
Rocky Mountain Ranger District
1102 Main Ave. NW
Choteau, MT 59422
(406) 466-5341
Augusta Information Station
405 Manix Street
Augusta, MT 59410
(406) 562-3247

Lolo National Forest

Seeley Lake Ranger District
3583 Highway 83
Seeley Lake MT 59868

General Information

General Notes:

Application Process for Temporary Outfitter and Guide Special Use Permits

The national forests which manage the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex (BMWC) have an application process for temporary outfitter and guide special use permits. Read more.



Backpacking and day hiking opportunities abound on the over 1,000 miles of trail in the Bob Marshall Complex. Contact the local Ranger District for specific condition information and visit these pages for more information:

Flathead National Forest Backpacking Opportunities

Lolo National Forest Scapegoat Wilderness

Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest Rocky Mountains Area


Horse Camping

Horse riding and back-country pack trips are one of the most popular activities in the Bob Marshall Complex. Please visit these pages for more information:

Horse Riding & Camping on the:

sign reading "Certified Weed Seed Free Straw and Feed required on public landsRemember! Only certified weed-seed-free hay and other stock food products are allowed on public lands.