Spanish Peaks Backpacking

Bozeman, Montana

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A long circuit through the midsection of a smaller wilderness area. Spanish Peaks is a popular hiking area—and you’ll probably see some stock parties, too. This route, however, skirts the most heavily used portions while still providing the same incredible scenery that has made the Spanish Peaks Wilderness nationally famous. The Spanish Peaks could be called a pocket wilderness. It is isolated on the north edge of the massive Big Sky development. In the 1970s Montana wilderness advocates agreed to give up Jack Creek in exchange for the designation of the Lee Metcalf Wilderness in two parts. The South Fork of the Gallatin (now filled with residential and commercial development associated with Big Sky) and Jack Creek form a corridor of civilization between the two sections of wilderness. You should wait until at least early July to try this trip, preferably mid-July. Before going you might want to call the Forest Service for snow conditions. You want the snow line below 9,000 feet before taking this trip. Below 8,700 would make it easier to find a dry campsite and safely cross a small pass just west of Jerome Rock Lakes. Special attractions: Many high alpine views, lakes, and fishing opportunities.
Best Backpacking Vacations in the Northern Rockies

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Best Backpacking Vacations in the Northern Rockies

by Bill Schneider (Falcon Guides)

A long circuit through the midsection of a smaller wilderness area. Spanish Peaks is a popular hiking area—and you’ll probably see some stock parties, too. This route, however, skirts the most heavily used portions while still providing the same incredible scenery that has made the Spanish Peaks Wilderness nationally famous. The Spanish Peaks could be called a pocket wilderness. It is isolated on the north edge of the massive Big Sky development.

In the 1970s Montana wilderness advocates agreed to give up Jack Creek in exchange for the designation of the Lee Metcalf Wilderness in two parts. The South Fork of the Gallatin (now filled with residential and commercial development associated with Big Sky) and Jack Creek form a corridor of civilization between the two sections of wilderness. You should wait until at least early July to try this trip, preferably mid-July. Before going you might want to call the Forest Service for snow conditions. You want the snow line below 9,000 feet before taking this trip. Below 8,700 would make it easier to find a dry campsite and safely cross a small pass just west of Jerome Rock Lakes. Special attractions: Many high alpine views, lakes, and fishing opportunities.

© 2002 Bill Schneider/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Backpacking, Hiking
Nearby City: Bozeman
Distance: 23
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Skill Level: Moderate to Difficult
Duration: 3 days or more
Season: Best summer and fall
Local Contacts: Lee Metcalf Wilderness
Local Maps: USGS Hidden Lakes, Gallatin Peak, Garnet Mountain, Beacon Point, Willow Swamp, Cherry Lake; Lee Metcalf Wilderness Forest Service map
Driving Directions: Directions to Spanish Peaks (Backpacking)

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Apr 2018