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Scapegoat Wilderness

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The United States Congress designated the Scapegoat Wilderness (map) in 1972 and it now has a total of 259,756 acres. All of this wilderness is located in Montana and is managed by the Forest Service. The Scapegoat Wilderness is bordered by the Bob Marshall Wilderness to the north.


Scapegoat 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 Scapegoat Wilderness was designated in 1972 at 239,936 acres through a "grass roots" community effort and earned a place in history as the first citizen-initiated wilderness area in the nation. The Scapegoat's acreage is split between the Helena (Lincoln Ranger District), Lewis and Clark (Rocky Mountain Ranger District) and Lolo (Seeley Lake Ranger District) National Forests. It contains approximately 320 miles of system trail. The Scapegoat Wilderness is dominated by the massive limestone cliffs of the 9,204-foot Scapegoat Mountain that extends south from the Bob Marshall's Chinese Wall. Elevations range from 5,000 feet on the North Fork of the Blackfoot River to 9,400 feet on Red Mountain, the highest peak in the Complex. The Scapegoat Wilderness is approximately 32 miles long and ranges from four to 24 miles in width. The Scapegoat includes the headwaters of the Dearborn River and South Fork of the Sun River on the Lewis and Clark National Forest, Landers Fork of the Blackfoot River on the Helena National Forest, and the North Fork of the Blackfoot River on the Lolo National Forest.

Planning to Visit the Scapegoat 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 Scapegoat 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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