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Bitterroot National Forest

August 2 - August 8

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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.


Selway Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation


Primitive Tent Sites


Backpacking 9 miles to basecamp (Day hiking up to 5 miles each work 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 mountain wildflowers, majestic big game, and the sounds of birds here in our land of multiple uses.

Accommodations Description

On August 2, 2020, SBFC staff, interns, and AHS volunteers will meet and set up camp at the Big Creek trailhead. There is a vault toilet on site but no running water. On August 3, we will backpack in on the Big Creek Trail #11 to either the Teepee Rock primitive campsite (approximately 5 miles in) or to a primitive basecamp approximately 0.5 miles before the junction of So. Fork Big Creek Trail #118 and Big Creek Trail #11 (approx. 10 miles). This determination will be made based on the experience and physical fitness level of the group. Backcountry sites have no amenities; we will dig a latrine and SBFC will provide water filters. SBFC will supply all group cooking gear (including pots, pans, cooking utensils, etc). Volunteers should bring their own tent, sleeping bag/sleeping pad, cup/bowl/mug/eating utensils, and personal gear.


No aiport pickup provided for this trip. The closest airport is Missoula International Airport. Meeting times will be sent to registrants when the trip is confirmed.


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