North Absaroka Wilderness

Pilot and Index Peaks

North Absaroka Wilderness was designated by Congress in 1964 and now maintains 350,488 acres. This area is defined by rugged volcanic mountains dissected by numerous creeks forming huge drainages. This secluded and rough country contains large regions of nearly inaccessible terrain.

Summers are relatively dry yet during summer rainstorms, tons of erodible material turns waterways into frothing rivers of mud. Water comes off the slopes quickly, and flash floods and fast-flowing high water are hazards for the traveler.

Few lakes are within the area, but the streams contain cutthroat, brown, brook, and rainbow trout. Marmots and pikas thrive on numerous talus slopes. This region is also home to grizzly bears. Please educate yourself about special precautions necessary when in bear country. Big-game hunters come by the hundreds for bighorn sheep, elk, and moose during hunting season.

There about 200 miles of rough and minimally marked trails, and hikers run a high risk of getting lost or hurt. Trails are generally long, steep, and narrow and tend to follow drainages that offer few places to cross except at the headwaters. From easily accessible Pahaska Campground, a trail runs north along Crow Creek to meet other trails. Be aware that some trails travel far from water and that travelers can expect to encounter washouts, fallen trees, and loose rock on the trails. 

A limited number of desirable campsites has led to the overuse of some areas. Please follow special regulations associated with Wilderness and always use Leave No Trace techniques to help keep these areas wild, clean, and pristine.

At a Glance

Usage: Light
Restrictions: Wilderness regulations apply
Closest Towns: Cody, WY
Water: Treat all non-potable water before consuming.
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center: Clarks Fork, Greybull, and Wapiti Ranger Districts (307) 527 6921

General Information

General Notes:

Topo maps

Forest Service Topography Maps: These maps overlay Forest Service assets, such as roads, trails, and campgrounds, on USGS's topographic maps. They are available for download by quadrangle.

Buy maps online

National Forest Store:  Offers a full, nationwide selection of National Forest, Ranger District, Wilderness, and Specialty Maps for purchase online or by phone, fax, and mail.

Go to for additional maps and information about Wilderness.


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