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Bob Marshall Wilderness

General Contacts Area Management Wilderness Laws Images Volunteer
A small stream winds through an open valley, surrounded by dense green forest on the surrounding hills.
Library image #1563: Danaher Meadows


The United States Congress designated the Bob Marshall Wilderness (map) in 1964 and it now has a total of 1,009,356 acres. All of this wilderness is located in Montana and is managed by the Forest Service. The Bob Marshall Wilderness is bordered by the Great Bear Wilderness to the north and the Scapegoat Wilderness to the south.


Bob Marshall Wilderness - Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex:

Located in Northwestern Montana on both sides of the Continental Divide, this large complex includes three Wilderness areas: the Great Bear, the Scapegoat, and the Bob Marshall Wilderness. Together the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex makes up an area of more than 1.5 million acres, the third largest in the lower 48 states. Grizzly bear, lynx, wolverine, deer, elk, gray wolf, moose, black bear, mountain lion, mountain goat, and mountain sheep roam about these rugged ridge tops, gently sloping alpine meadows, thickly forested river bottoms and open grass parks. Across this continuous landscape over 1700 miles of trail provide challenges and experiences to satisfy visitors with a wide range of skills.

The Bob Marshall Wilderness was named after forester, wilderness preservation pioneer and Wilderness Society cofounder: Bob Marshall. The region was set aside as the South Fork, Pentagon and Sun River Primitive Areas between the years of 1931-1934 then, congressionally designated as Wilderness in 1964. In 1978, additional lands were designated bringing the total to 1,009,356 acres.

The Continental Divide separates the Flathead and Sun River drainages with elevations ranging from 4,000 feet to more than 9,000 feet. A huge escarpment called the Chinese Wall, a part of the Divide, highlights the Bob's vast untrammeled beauty, with an average height of more than 1,000 feet and a length of 22 miles. The Chinese Wall extends into the Scapegoat Wilderness, which lies to the south, while the Great Bear Wilderness shares the border to the north.

Planning to Visit the Bob Marshall Wilderness?

Leave No Trace

How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Bob Marshall Wilderness.
  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
  2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly
  4. Leave What You Find
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
  6. Respect Wildlife
  7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors
For more information on Leave No Trace, Visit the Leave No Trace, Inc. website.

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