Backpack into the Beartooth Mountain Range! Explore the winding rivers, beautiful valleys, and stunning mountain peaks. You will carry all of your belongings with you in a large backpack and travel by foot through various terrain. Keep a sharp eye out for the animals that call this place home.
ItineraryExpand All Fields
Day 1: Begin your adventure departing the Twin Cities and bonding with your trip mates while you head to Buffalo Gap Campground
Today is the longer of two travel days to get out to the Beartooth Mountains. Expect about an 8 hour drive through most of North Dakota. You’ll stop shy of the Montana border by about 10 miles and camp just outside Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
Day 2: Today is the day you cross into Montana
The last travel day before you gear up for a once in a lifetime backpacking experience. Expect about 5-½ hour drive to Woodbine Campground. Located in Custer Gallatin National Forest, you’ll surely notice the change from the North Dakota landscape you observed on day one.
Day 3: Your first day on the trail, the adventure truly begins with everything you need in your pack
After breaking down camp and departing Woodbine Campground you’ll head to the trailhead to start your hike near Cathedral Point, MT. Departing the trailhead, you’ll begin winding through a narrow canyon section along Stillwater River. Take time to enjoy the views and smell that crisp mountain air–you're exactly where you're supposed to be. Wilderness Inquiry leaders will help you set up camp on Sioux Charley Lake, a fanned-out section of the Stillwater River. Relax under the stars, and enjoy your first dinner on trail, you’ve certainly earned it!
Day 4: Second day on the trail, Sioux Charley Lake camp to Wounded Man Creek
On the move again, you’ll find yourself passing through lush rolling meadows following a fairly flat portion of the Stillwater River. This is the perfect time to come across deer or moose–keep your eyes peeled! A trip in the mountains only stays flat for so long… As we approach Wounded Man Creek campsite, the terrain becomes steeper. Remember, the best things in life are worth the effort!
Day 5: Third day on the trail, Wounded Man Creek to Flood Creek
Today you’ll start retracing your steps back to the trailhead. Don’t think of it as seeing what you’ve already seen- anticipate and recapture the landscape that made the journey spectacular thus far! You’ll be surprised by the new perspective simply by turning 180 degrees back toward civilization.
Day 6: A familiar site, this is your last night in Montana before beginning the trip home
You’ll return to Woodbine campground where you’ll enjoy one last night in Montana. Relish the break your body has earned when you realize you don’t have to put that pack back on your shoulders the following morning! The hard part is over. Howl at the moon tonight and enjoy dinner in a somewhat more glamping lifestyle than you’ve been accustomed to while backpacking.
Day 7: Back to North Dakota, you’ll head back to Buffalo Gap campground for a final night under the stars
Take one more glimpse or dip your feet into the Montana Rivers that have become your home the past few days. Remember this feeling and cherish it as you begin your journey home. The memories and sensations of the western landscapes and waters will extend far beyond this week.
Day 8: Returning Home, Minnesota’s missed you!
The journey has been long, but you’ll have plenty of stories and jokes to share with your trip mates during the last few hours on the road. Be proud of what you just accomplished as a team and know the mountains are always waiting for you.
Dates & Fees
Wilderness Inquiry leads trips to the Beartooth Mountains, but currently has no dates scheduled for this itinerary. If your group is interested, we would love to set up a customized adventure just for you! Please contact us or request a trip quote below if you are interested in this destination.Request Trip Quote »
What to Expect
TERRAIN/ROUTE CHOICES: You will be hiking on variable terrain through mountain valleys. There will be up and down hills throughout the trip. Bring sturdy boots for this mountain adventure.
TYPE OF TRAVEL: You will be hiking everyday carrying a large backpack with all of your belongings and sleeping in a tent at night.
WEATHER: Due to high elevations, temperatures in the summer months fluctuate from 30 F to 85 F. It is usually quite sunny, but be prepared for everything, including a rain shower or two.
YOUR GROUP: Your group size can range from 6 to 10 youth and 1-2 adult chaperones, plus 2 Wilderness Inquiry staff.
ACCOMMODATIONS: During your trip you’ll experience a range of campgrounds and varying amenities. At Buffalo Gap Campground there are flushable toilets, sinks, and even coin operated showers. Expect pit or vault toilets only at Woodbine Campground. Once you begin backpacking on the Stillwater Trail, expect 3 nights and 4 days where all food and human waste must be packed out. We will utilize a backcountry toilet set up to make this both sanitary and practical for this situation. Leave No Trace is very important as to not disturb the ecosystem we are guests in.
MEALS: Enjoy learning how to cook outdoors by working together with Wilderness Inquiry staff to prepare meals. There will be a variety of food, but remember you have to carry everything you eat so we try to make our portions just right to lighten the load. Expect warm breakfasts and dinners cooked over the stove and cold lunches on the go.
EQUIPMENT AND CLOTHING: Wilderness Inquiry will provide all group gear and equipment. You will be assigned the same gear for the duration of your trip and it will be sanitized between trips. Your group will be provided a packing list for personal gear to bring, and Wilderness Inquiry will do our best to provide any personal items members of your group may need.
COVID POLICY: We continue to monitor and update our COVID-19 policies. Wilderness Inquiry strongly encourages everyone to be fully up to date with their COVID-19 vaccination and take other necessary steps for the health and wellness of all. We ask you to self-screen for any signs of illness prior to your trip’s departure. Please contact Wilderness Inquiry if you are exhibiting signs of illness. We will also continue to follow all guidance and requirements of locations that we travel, keeping in mind some international destinations do require vaccinations and/or negative covid tests. We will update this policy as new information and guidance becomes available.
SAFETY WHILE ON TRAIL: Though not required, some individuals may choose to wear a mask, and we expect all participants to respect this choice. Please ensure proper hygiene including, but not limited to, hand-washing and/or sanitizing before eating and after using the restroom. Individuals who become ill or test positive for COVID-19 during a Wilderness Inquiry experience will be isolated to the best of the group’s ability and are responsible for their own transportation and expenses to depart the trip.Read more »