Scapegoat Wilderness Image

The Scapegoat Wilderness, part of the 1.5 million-acre Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex, consists of 239,936 acres carved out of parts of the Lewis and Clark, Helena, and Lolo national forests. The Scapegoat Wilderness abuts the southern border of the Bob Marshall, which itself abuts the southern border of the Great Bear Wilderness.

The Scapegoat, just 75 miles northeast of Missoula, is bounded on the west by the Continental Divide, and on the east by the Great Plains. The intersection of mountains and plains is marked most dramatically by the limestone cliffs of the Scapegoat Mountains, an extension of the dramatic "Chinese Wall" that marks the Rocky Mountain Front through the neighboring Bob. The highest peak in the Bob Marshall Complex is the Scapegoat's 9,414-foot Red Mountain.

The combined wilderness areas host every species of mammal native to the Rocky Mountains, including the rare silvertip grizzly, and the terrain ranges from mountain meadows to rugged ridgelines to dense forest. Fourteen lakes dot the Scapegoat, and the Blackfoot River has its headwaters here. Rainbow trout and northern pike are especially common in Scapegoat waters.

One hundred and fifty miles of trails cross the Scapegoat, mostly following creeks (the complex as a whole offers 1,700 miles). About 50 miles of the Continental Divide Trail runs through the Scapegoat, with the easiest access being via Alice Creek. Horse packing is also popular, and stock-loading access is available at the Indian Meadows, Arrastra Creek, Dry Creek, and Wildcat trailheads off Montana Hwy. 200 north of Lincoln. Additional access is off Montana Highway 83 to the west, or U.S. Highway 287 to the east.

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