Three Passes in the Absaroka Backpacking

Big Timber, Montana 59011

Three Passes in the Absaroka Backpacking

Three Passes in the Absaroka (Backpacking) Professional Review and Guide

"A demanding route through the remote and uncrowded heart of the Absaroka Range. As you do for many long backpacking trips, you have to get away from the trailheads for the best hiking. In this case, both the first few miles and the last few miles could be described as slightly boring as you hike through mature lodgepole forests without much topography. However, after breaking out of the lower elevation timberland, it doesn’t get much better than this. One note of caution: This is not a national park or a popular wilderness area. One disadvantage (or advantage?) of this is getting exact distances from maps or signs.

Consequently, I had to estimate mileage more than I did for any other trip in this book. This trip is for well-conditioned backpackers. After getting to the top of Speculator Pass you won’t need to hit the Stairmaster machine for a while. But if you want to get ready for this trip, you should spend three hours a day on it. Special attractions: Three major passes in one trip and the chance to be alone in the wilderness."

Three Passes in the Absaroka (Backpacking) Reviews

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This is a beautiful and demanding trip. Each pass has beautiful views of different areas, and the climbs are demanding at times. The Speculator Pass trail is no longer maintained -this means many trees to climb over, and the trail disappears repeatedly. At times we had to bushwack for up to a half mile before our search turned up the trail again. Also much of Speculator Trail is through bogs and streams. West Boulder Trail also has numerous stream crossings and bogs, waterproof boots are essential! Tremendous wild country with amazing views, and very demanding. The climb up Speculator pass is mountaineering, not a simple backpacking trail. Not for those who are not very fit, and experienced hikers.

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Trail Information

Big Timber
Nearby City
Trail Type
Skill Level
4 to 5 days
Best summer and fall
Absaroka - Beartooth Wilderness
Local Contacts
USGS The Pyramid, West Boulder Plateau, Chrone Mountain, The Needles, Mount Cowan, Mount Rae; USFS Absaroka - Beartooth Wilderness
Local Maps