Need to get the most out of my short vacation!
July 11, 2007 12:06 PM   Subscribe

Where should I go backpacking between Bigfork, MT and Portland, OR?

I live in Portland and I am going to a family reunion in Bigfork, MT. I have taken off 3 extra days to go backpacking (drive time back to Portland included). I was thinking Glacier, but it seems like it is such a hassle to get a permit and find an available campground/ avoid crowds.

I am looking for something not too difficult, maybe 4-6 miles per day. Want to see some beautiful back country and not a lot of people.

Any ideas? Am I crazy to not just go to Glacier (if so, any tips of good trails without a lot of people)?

posted by crawfishpopsicle to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
There is also some AWESOME hiking in the lava beds of SE Oregon. Amazing landscape. The lava beds park on the California side of the border is pretty awesome, too, lots of caves, some really big. Haven't been to Glacier so can't speak to it.
posted by luriete at 12:16 PM on July 11, 2007

the lava beds sound cool, but they would add a lot of driving (10+ extra hours).
posted by crawfishpopsicle at 1:29 PM on July 11, 2007

The Wallowas are beautiful granite mountains in the NE corner of the state. They remind me of the Sierra, but on a smaller scale.
posted by ottereroticist at 2:33 PM on July 11, 2007

If you don't want crowds, avoid Glacier Park and avoid the Cascades in Oregon/Washington. The Mission Mountains Wilderness is just south of Big Fork and less likely to be crowded. The Swan River Range and the Bob Marshall Wilderness are very nice, but are farther east and a little out of your way and probably require more hiking mileage than you prefer.

I second the Wallowas in NE Oregon, which are out of the way of the hoards, but will also increase your driving time somewhat.
posted by JackFlash at 3:18 PM on July 11, 2007

posted by desjardins at 3:59 PM on July 11, 2007

The Mission Mountains sound great! Do you recommend any trails? Man, if I can find a nice alpine lake, I'm there!
posted by crawfishpopsicle at 3:59 PM on July 11, 2007

This might give you a start on the Bob Marshall, the Missions, and Jewel Basin, all three reasonably near Bigfork. You are best to avoid Jewel Basin on the weekends since it is the most easily accessible.
posted by JackFlash at 7:16 PM on July 11, 2007

thanks jackflash. i bought the falcon guide for montana and am reading up on bob marshall, the missions and a few others. thanks for the tip. i am pretty convinced that the crowds at glacier will just frustrate me, not to mention that the other alternatives are cheaper!

thanks again!
posted by crawfishpopsicle at 9:05 PM on July 11, 2007

Jewel Basin. It's close to Bigfork. It gets its name from the number of small lakes.
posted by slowstarter at 9:34 PM on July 11, 2007

Nthing Wallowas. Its beautiful up there.
posted by devilsbrigade at 4:18 AM on July 12, 2007

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