In a state that’s as big as all outdoors, don’t be surprised to find that hiking and backpacking are the preferred outdoor activities. Long backpacking trips through national forests and wilderness areas are something of a rite of passage for many Montanans.
The most famous hiking area in the state is Glacier National Park . Even more so than Yellowstone, Glacier yields its wonders only to those who get out of the car and hike up its trails. However, in high summer the trails can be very busy and may therefore not deliver the wilderness experience you’re looking for. Other areas to consider for longer backpacking trips are the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area , south of Glacier Park; the Bitterroot Mountains, south of Missoula ; and the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness , north of Yellowstone.
The national forests are all laced with hiking trails, and the staff at any ranger station can help you put together a hiking trip that suits your interests, time limitations, and endurance.