Riding - Hiking - Spring Flowers - Photography
This is an amazing early summer trip into the back country. We don't see many people this time of year, but we do see lots of wildlife and lots of wild flowers. Due to the nature of higher mountain valleys, spring comes a later than most anywhere else. Birch Creek has a lower elevation, so we won't have to cross any snowfields or passes. It's pleasant horseback riding in the valley, which is a lower elevation than the immediate surrounding peaks and ridges. In the South Fork valley snow is melted off, and the grass and trees are bursting with spring foliage. All manner of wildflowers are just getting started and you have a great opportunity to see the first part of summer all the mountain wildflowers are out in splendor. Additionally, the wildlife is commonly seen as they are moving from winter range to summer range, chasing the green grass as they go higher in elevation. The rivers and streams will be full with winter run off. There isn't much for fishing this time of year due to he murky nature of the streams.
This trip generally visits 1 or 2 campsites along the South Fork of the Birch Creek. There are many historically and geologically interesting side trips we can take in this area as we explore the upper Birch Creek and North Fork Teton River drainages. We may ride up to Bloody Ridge, the site of a fierce battle between the Blackfeet and Flathead Indians over hunting ground supremacy. Or we may ride up to Big Horn Mountain under the continental divide and view amazing vistas of the surrounding valleys. For those looking for some hiking adventure we can venture up to Lost Lake. Most of the area we visit is open with scattered timber areas, affording us fantastic views every day.
The weather is mild this time of year, though the nights will be cool. Anytime in the mountains we can get an occassional thunderstorm, but rarely experience sustained low pressure fronts with lots of rain. The bugs are also pretty low this time of year as it's typically cold enough at night to keep them at bay until July.
This is a great trip for experiencing beautiful country as remote and wild as it gets.
This trip offers a nice mix of horseback riding and day-hiking adventures. The South Fork trail is an easy trail to ride, and the riding distances range from 8-12 miles. These is very moderate riding terrain. The campsites are in the bottom of the South Fork Valley, with panoramic views of the surrounding snow-capped peaks. There are many great options for day hike or day riding activities. We usually visit 1-2 different campsites in the South Fork. The wildlife are abundant, and the wildflowers are amazing this time of year. Definitely bring your camera. If you are a professional photographer, or aspiring amateur, bring the appropriate lenses, etc as you'll find you are using them extensively.
Of particular interest, due to the absolute remote nature of the Bob Marshall, there is zero light polution, and near perfectly clear skies. The deep evening star gazing is intensely beautful, where you can see brilliantly our evening constellations, the Milky Way galaxy, and numerous shooting stars. This is a unique and rare opportunity to see our night time sky in a way you've not seen it before. The days are long out here, so plan on staying up late as sunset is about 10pm.
While this trip goes out in mid-June, the temps and weather you will experience is mountain spring-like conditions. Expect mild days with chilly nights. Layers are key to comfort, and you should always bring comfortable rain gear to ride or hike in. Comfortable hiking/riding boots are a must. Your sleeping bag should be comfortable to about 30F, though it rarely gets quite that cold. Daytime temps will be in the 70's, and we will not get days in the 80's in the mountains this time of year. Please take a look at the downloadable PDF below for additional detail.