West Boulder River

Gallatin National Forest, Montana

Elevation Gain550ft
Trailhead Elevation5,560ft
Elevation Min/Max5560/5728ft
Elevation Start/End5560/5560ft

West Boulder River

West Boulder River is a hiking trail in Park County, Montana. It is within Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Area and Gallatin National Forest. It is 1.3 miles long and begins at 5,560 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 2.7 miles with a total elevation gain of 550 feet.

West Boulder River Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Hiking the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness (Falcon Guides)
Bill Schneider
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"An easy route suitable for a moderate day hike or overnighter along a scenic, fish-filled river. One of the highlights of this hike is the drive to the trailhead. West Boulder Road winds through a scenic slice of the “real Montana”—wide-open spaces, snowcapped mountains, big valleys with rustic cattle ranches, aspens coloring the transitions between grassland and forest, and, of course, a beautiful stream all the way. If you drive to the trailhead near dawn or dusk, it resembles a video game trying to dodge all the deer on the road. From the campground, hike up a dirt road, through an open gate, for about 100 yards. Watch for a sign on the left and a trail heading left; turn left here. Don’t continue on the road, which goes to a private residence. This is all private land, but the landowner has been cooperative in allowing public access."
"The West Boulder River forms on the northeast slope of 11,212-foot Mount Cowen, the highest peak in the Absaroka Range, and the snowfields atop 10,620-foot Boulder Mountain. The West Boulder Trail, a portal into the Absaroka- Beartooth Wilderness, extends 16 miles up the glacially carved mountain valley, passing the river’s headwaters and skirting the eastern base of Mount Cowen to Mill Creek Pass. This hike follows the first 3.5 miles of the trail to West Boulder Meadows. The vast mountain meadow sits at the eastern foot of 7,948-foot Lion Mountain. Rivulets of the river lace through the lush meadow grasses. The scenic trail follows the river at a gentle grade through meadows and intermittent forests of aspen and mixed pine. Throughout the hike are great views of the West Boulder River, the forested hillsides, and the surrounding snow-capped mountains."
Best Easy Day Hikes Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness (Falcon Guides)
Bill Schneider
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"An easy route along a scenic, fish-filled river."
Hiking Montana (Falcon Guides)
Bill Schneider & Russ Schneider
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"A day hike or overnighter on a route following the scenic, fish-filled West Boulder River"

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Trail Information

Gallatin National Forest
Nearby City
Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Area
Gallatin National Forest
Local Contacts
USGS Mount Rae and Mount Cowen; RMS Mount Cowen Area; and at least 1 wilderness-wide map
Local Maps