Horse Pack and Camp in Montana’s Million-Acre Bob Marshall Wilderness

montana horse packing
Horse packing in Montana's Bob Marshall Wilderness

The outfitters in the table below provide guided Montana horse packing trips into the million-acre Bob Marshall Wilderness – one of the few ways to see “The Bob” since no vehicle traffic is allowed.

Brief Introduction to the Bob Marshall Wilderness

The Bob Marshall Wilderness in western Montana near Glacier National Park extends for 60 miles along the Continental Divide and consists of 1,009,356 total acres. It is the fifth largest wilderness in the lower 48 states with only the Death Valley Wilderness (California and Nevada), the Frank Church – River of No Return Wilderness (Idaho), the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness (Idaho and Montana), and the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Wilderness (Florida) being larger. It’s named for forester and conservationist Bob Marshall (1901 – 1939) who was one of the co-founders of the Wilderness Society in 1935. In accordance with the Wilderness Act of 1964, the entire area is roadless. It contains 1,856 miles of trails that are open to foot and stock use only – no bikes. There are no permanent structures in the wilderness other than some old ranger stations and a few horse bridges. Altitude ranges from 4,000 feet to over 9,000 feet. Visitors see lakes, waterfalls and dense forests. Grizzly bear, black bear, mountain goat, bighorn sheep, wolverine, mountain lion, lynx, and wolf inhabit the wilderness in significant numbers.

One of the most popular ways to see the Bob Marshall Wilderness is on a Montana horse packing trip where guests ride horses while mules pack all of the camping and cooking gear. Horse packing trips typically last from 3 to 10 days. They may break camp and ride to a different location each day, or spend 2 or more days at several locations, or set up a base camp and make one-day excursions by horse or foot to places in proximity to the base camp. Accommodations may be wall tents or teepee style tents with floors and screened windows or some variations. A base camp may have an outhouse and hot showers. All outfitters pride themselves on the quality of their cooking. Camp chefs prepare all meals often using locally sourced foods, including grass-fed beef, vegetables, and herbs. Then they clean up the kitchen. Guests may join in the cooking and clean-up but it’s not required.

Each outfitter has its own particular style and personality and usually, those come through on their websites. Links are included below.

Outfitters Providing Montana Horse Packing Trips in the Bob Marshall Wilderness

Here is an infographic of all outfitters and guides providing Montana horse packing and mule packing trips into the Bob Marshall Wilderness with summary information about each one and links to their websites. Outfitters are included in the table in alphabetical order. Every effort has been made to include ALL outfitters and guides who provide horse packing trips in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. If you know of outfitters who lead horse packing trips in The Bob but are not included here, please contact Brown’s Guides editor@brownsguides.com with the name and contact information and they will be added.

BOB MARSHALL WILDERNESS HORSE PACKING OUTFITTERS

Outfitter Name Length of Trip in Days Sleeping Other Activities Comments
7 Lazy P 5-10 Tents with cots Guided hunts Usually spend 2 nights in each camp
Bob Marshall Wilderness Outfitters 5-10 Tents Horse and mule packing classes 26 years of experience
Mills Wilderness Adventures 7 days Base camp White River Elk Hunts Day trips from base camp
Rich’s Montana Guest Ranch 5-10 Teepee tents with covered floors and screened doors Fishing, hunting, snowmobiling Move camp every other day
Salmon Forks Outfitters Salmon Forks is associated with Swan Mountain Outfitters
Swan Mountain Outfitters 3-9 Varies from sleeping on the ground to stationary camps with platform beds Llama treks, hunting and fishing Owner Pat Tabor has gone on “test” trips with 36 outfitters all over the world
Triple J Wilderness Ranch 5-7 Private tents with sleeping pad, waterproof floors and screen windows Dude ranch vacations 8 guest per trip on average

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Brown’s Guides is a website about the top outdoor experiences in America and about the professional outfitters and guides who know them best. BG selects guides and outfitters located in or in close proximity to the Natural Areas they provide activities in. These outfitters know the areas and care about protecting and preserving them in a way that outfitters based in other states never can. Hiking, biking, sea kayaking, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, and over 100 other outdoor activities are indexed on the site. BG has been doing this type of thing since 1972 in books, magazines, maps and on the Internet.

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