Are you keen to explore Big Sky’s backyard? It’s time that you discover the wild wonders of the Lee Metcalf Wilderness…
Located in the Madison Range of SW Montana, the Lee Metcalf Wilderness is known for its vast, remote, and wild landscape. The United States Congress officially established the Lee Metcalf Wilderness as part of the National Wilderness Preservation System when US President Ronald Reagan signed it into law on October 31, 1983 (GovTrack.us).
The Lee Metcalf Wilderness is named after democratic Congressman Lee Metcalf of Montana. Metcalf was a prominent conservationist and he was instrumental in the passing of the Wilderness Act of 1964. As of 2018, the federal government protects 110,005,113 acres in 765 wilderness areas. Hooray for wilderness!
The Lee Metcalf Wilderness consists of four separate wilderness parcels that cover 242,068 acres. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) or the United States Forest Service (USFS) manage these wilderness units. The BLM manages 6,347 acres, while the Gallatin National Forest manages 101,916 acres and the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest manages 133,805 acres.
The four units of the Lee Metcalf Wilderness include (acreage is approximate):
- Bear Trap Canyon – 6000 acres – BLM
- Spanish Peaks – 76,000 acres – USFS
- Taylor Hilgard – 141,000 acres – USFS
- Monument Mountain – 33,000 acres – USFS
There is a wide variety of terrain in the Lee Metcalf Wilderness. Depending on where your adventure takes you, you may find mature Montana forests, glacially carved cirques, alpine peaks and ridges, open meadows, pristine basins, picture perfect lakes, and so much more.
With an elevation range of 4500′ at the Bear Trap Canyon on the Madison River to 11316′ at Hilgard Peak, the Lee Metcalf Wilderness is an ideal home to an abundance of wildlife. This unique environment features grizzly bears, cougars, wolves, big horn sheep, elk, moose, mountain goats, black bears, and more. The lakes and streams are also filled with cutthroat, rainbow, and brook trout.
Learn more about the Lee Metcalf Wilderness at Wilderness.net
If you’re in Big Sky country, plan your next adventure in the Lee Metcalf Wilderness. There are opportunities for hiking, skiing, climbing, mountaineering, horseback riding, hunting, peak bagging, bird watching, wildlife spotting, fishing, backpacking, camping, rafting, and so much more.
With 28 trailheads accessing roughly 300 miles of trails, it’s easy to venture into this wild and pristine world. Is it time for you to discover the Lee Metcalf? It will blow your mind.
Did you know that the state of Montana is home to 15 wilderness areas? Those wilderness areas cover 3,501,410 acres! There are certainly plenty of wild places to explore in the Treasure State! Maybe it’s time to visit Big Sky.