Spanish Peaks near Bozeman Montana

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Spanish Peaks

The area around the Spanish Peaks Mountains is very popular with hikers as it provides incredible scenery and a wonderful wilderness experience.

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  • The wild lands of the Spanish Peaks Mountains offers many high alpine views, lakes, abundance in wildlife and great fishing opportunities.
  • Our country's first BLM wilderness, Bear Trap Canyon is noted for its depth and one of the wildest stretches of whitewater in Montana.
  • Camping permits are obtained from the Gallatin National Forest Office, P.O. Box 130 , Bozeman, MT 59771, and (406) 587-6701.

Overview
Spanish Peaks Primitive Area is now called the Lee Metcalf Designated Wilderness Area. The wilderness area and the Yellowstone ecosystem help comprise over 3 million acres of land. Several mountain peaks in the area exceed 11,000 feet, including Lone Peak at 11,188 feet. The wild lands offer many high alpine views, lakes, abundance in wildlife and great fishing opportunities.

Location/Directions
The Spanish Peaks Mountains and accompanying Lee Metcalf Designated Wilderness Area can be found 40 miles southwest of Bozeman, MT. Spanish Peaks is in the north end of the Lee Metcalf Wilderness Area and is composed of 76,000 acres of rugged alpine peaks and cirque lakes. Beartrap Canyon, comprised of 6,000 acres, is nearby Spanish Peaks but is separated.

The Lee Metcalf Wilderness Area, is an administered unit of the
Gallatin National Forest
P.O. Box 130
Bozeman, MT 59771
(406) 587-6701

Seasons
Although accessible year round, the best time to visit the Spanish Peaks Montana area is mid-July through September.

Activities
In the northwest corner of the Lee Metcalf Wilderness Complex, Bear Trap Canyon-the first BLM Wilderness in the nation-consists of 6000 acres of wild canyon country along the Madison River. Bear Trap offers 9 miles of possibly the most exciting and challenging whitewater in Montana and this may be the only wild habitat shared by both rattlesnakes and moose.

Open foothills on the west face of the Bear Creek Wildlife Management Area are winter range for more than 500 elk. Some of the prominent landmarks along the crest of the Hilgards include the distinctive summit of the chimney spires of 11,316-foot Hilgard Peak-highest point in Montana outside of the Beartooth Range.

About 70 gemlike lakes are pocketed along the divide, most of which are in the more rugged southern reaches near Hilgard Peak.

Lush meadows spread out across a more subdued landscape in the Skyline Ridge country of Cabin Creek and Monument Mountain. As the only portion of the Wilderness adjacent to Yellowstone, the southeast corner of the Malisons is superb living space for elk, moose, sheep, and the threatened, free-roaming grizzly.

As our country's first BLM wilderness, Bear Trap Canyon is noted for its depth and one of the wildest stretches of whitewater in Montana. Bear Trap is more popular for day use due to the lack of level campsites with trees for shade, windbreak, and privacy. However, the canyon is excellent for off-season hiking thanks to low snowpack and easy access.

The most popular activities in the high alpine country of the Spanish Peaks Big Sky area are fishing, big game hunting, geological study, rock climbing, hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, camping, and uncluttered relaxation. Call Gallatin National Forest for camping permit information.

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