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Bitterroot National Forest, Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, Montana – Volunteer Vacations 2022

July 31, 2022 - August 6, 2022

Trip Navigation

This project will take place in the heavily glaciated, rugged peaks of the Bitterroot Mountains. Volunteers will be clearing with crosscut saws, axes, and handsaws as well as cleaning drains and improving trail tread. The Big Creek Trail #11 threads through a scenic Montana canyon and offers a pristine Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness experience. During the first half of the trip we will clear the Big Creek trail of fallen trees from milepost 9 to Packbox Pass at milepost 13.8. There will be an optional day off in the middle of the week during which volunteers may choose to swim, hike, or relax at camp. If there is time, the latter half of the project will be spent scouting and clearing the Big Creek Divide Trail #306. With wayfinding assistance from the Forest Service, work will entail bushwhacking, flagging, and clearing the switchback trail. The Big Creek Divide Trail is full of history and has not been cleared in several years; be prepared for strenuous work and bring your sense of adventure!

AHS acknowledges with gratitude that this project takes place on the traditional lands of the Salish and Ktunaxa ɁamakɁis peoples past and present. We honor the land itself, the Indigenous communities who have stewarded this land for generations, and those who continue to steward these lands today. AHS invites all volunteers to join us in our commitment to support and amplify the work of Indigenous communities as they work to dismantle the systems of oppression that these communities continue to face today.


Selway Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation


Primitive Tent Sites


This is a backpacking trip. Volunteers will need to carry their personal gear to base camp, about 8 miles in.

Project Rating

Very Strenuous

Minimum Volunteer Age


Maximum Group Size


Area and Attractions

This project will take place in the heavily glaciated, rugged peaks of the Bitterroot Mountains. 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. 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. We will be on the ancestral homelands of the Salish (Flathead) tribe, a hunting and gathering culture. Tribal occupancy of the Bitterroot Valley can be traced back to the end of the last ice age, and there is even evidence of Paleo-Indian presence during the late Pleistocene Epoch. Come enjoy the magnificent mountains, the serenity of wilderness, the alpine flowers, majestic big game, and the sounds of birds here in our land of multiple uses.

Accommodations Description

The crew will be car camping at the Big Creek Trailhead on the evening of Sunday, July 31. There is a pit toilet and picnic table on site, but no running water. On Monday, August 1 volunteers will hike into basecamp approximately 8 miles to a primitive backcountry site. These backcountry campsites have no amenities; the group will dig a latrine and the host will provide water filters for group use. Pack support will be provided to carry group gear, food, and tools. Volunteers will carry their own personal gear. SBFC supplies group cooking gear including tables, a tarp, two burner stoves with fuel, pots, pans, utensils, plates, bowls, mugs, etc. Volunteers need to supply their own tent and personal camping gear including sleeping bag, sleeping pad, backcountry gear and towels. Please contact volunteer@americanhiking.org for assistance with gear needs.


Missoula International Airport in Missoula, MT is the closest airport. Airport pickup is not provided for this trip. Volunteers are responsible for transportation to and from camp and the work site. Carpooling can be arranged once the project is confirmed.


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