Summer time in Montana- boats and jet skis, music festivals, streams full of anglers, drive-to sight seeing. Sure, all of these to-dos are full of fun, but there is something about packing in to a camp with only what you can carry on your back while seeing stunning views without another human being in sight.
Montana’s Rocky Mountains provides many different landscapes, with an endless amount of exploring to be done. These five destinations are by no means the best in this great state, but more so are destinations that are a must-see.
#5 The Chinese Wall – The Bob Marshal Wilderness
This is one of the more popular destinations to visit in The Bob. The moderately strenuous hike to The Chinese Wall is about 17 miles from the trail head, and is best accessible from the months of July to September. The Chinese wall is a 1000+ foot high limestone cliff wall that stretches for about 12 miles between Haystack Mountain and Larch Hill Pass.
Hiking in to this destination is a good day trip, and is one of the few backcountry hot springs in Montana that are on public land. Enjoy the multiple 100° – 110° pools located just off of the trail, all while soaking in a panoramic view of the Tobacco Root Mountains. This is a short hike, with a lot to reward.
This is a moderately strenuous hike with a 1500+ foot incline that brings you up to an alpine lake on the face of the Rocky Mountain Front. The hike to the lower falls is near 4 miles, and to reach the summit to Our lake is another 2 miles. This can be considered a day hike, but people often camp below the falls overnight to catch the sunrise, and hopefully some Yellowstone Cutthroat as well. If you continue to hike above the lake to the top of the west saddle, you can catch views of The Chinese Wall.
Holland Lake is a good destination that is full of privately owned cabins and is good for camping, boating, and fishing, but if you find yourself wanting to get away from the boats and the jet skis just head to the north eastern side of the lake and hike towards the falls. From the trail head to Upper Holland Lake, you will experience rocky terrain that brings you to an incline of 2100 feet in about 4.5 miles. If that hike wasn’t enough, keep heading up the trail and you will find yourself entering in to The Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex.
Crystal Lake is a smaller lake located in the heart of Montana near Lewistown. Despite the fact that the Snowies are not part of the Rocky Mountains, there are plenty of treasures hidden away between the surrounding peaks. Gaining over 2200 feet in elevation in the first three miles of a 4.5 mile long hike, you are introduced to fascinating views and very unique geology. The ice caves at the end of the near five mile hike preview a spectacular scene of ancient aquatic fossils nestling away in the limestone while staying cool enough year round to preserve pillars of ice.
If you find yourself needing to escape reality, or people in general, take a weekend off and go explore!