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Bitterroot National Forest

August 4, 2019 - August 10, 2019

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Big Creek Canyon has long been a major thoroughfare and destination for Native American Indians, trappers, and mountain travelers in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness. The trail threads through a beautiful glacier-carved canyon and provides a perfect backdrop for a wilderness experience. With basecamp at the beautiful Big Creek Lake, SBFC Staff, Interns and AHS Volunteers will use crosscuts and single-bit axes to clear this well-used trail around the lake to the famous Packbox Pass. Once this work is complete, the crew will work on clearing the South Fork of Big Creek trail towards another string of glacial lakes. Pack support will be provided to carry group gear, food, and tools.


Forest Service


Primitive Tent Sites


Backpacking 9 miles to basecamp (Day hiking up to 3 miles each day)

Project Rating

Very Strenuous

Minimum Volunteer Age


Maximum Group Size


Area and Attractions

You will find this spectacular 1.6 million acre forest in southwest Montana and Idaho to be a priceless national heritage. Half of the forest is dedicated to the largest expanse of continuous pristine wilderness in the lower 48 states -- the Selway Bitterroot, Frank Church River of No Return, and the Anaconda Pintler. Much of its beauty can be attributed to the heavily glaciated, rugged peaks of the Bitterroot Range. Drainages carved by glaciers form steep canyons that open into the valley floor. The abundance of natural resources offers a wide range of opportunities for recreation, grazing, wildlife, fisheries, timber, and minerals. Come enjoy the magnificent mountains, the serenity of wilderness, the miracle of spring flowers, majestic big game, and the sounds of birds here in our land of multiple uses.

Accommodations Description

Base camp will be located at the 7 mile meadow with easy access to the creek for water. SBFC will provide group water filters for base-camp and for the work day, kitchen gear including tables, stoves, fuel, cookware, eating utensils, plates, bowls, mugs. We will dig a large latrine for the group more than 200ft from the water in a sheltered area and we will have toilet paper available. Volunteers should bring their own tent, sleeping bag/sleeping pad, and personal gear. Please also bring a leak-proof tupperware for leftovers and/or lunches to avoid using too many plastic bags. We also encourage that you bring a camp chair that the pack-stock can carry in.


No airport pickup available for this trip. The closest airport is Missoula International Airport.


Bitterroot National Forest
Big Creek Trailhead, Victor, Montana 59875 United States