Great Bear Wilderness in Montana

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Great Bear Wilderness

The Great Bear Wilderness, within Flathead National Forest, is a prime destination when outdoor enthusiasts want to get out into the wilds and get up close and personal with nature. Read More

  • The Great Bear Wilderness is a prime destination for outdoor enthusiasts
  • Get there via US Highway 2 to the north and MT 83 to the west
  • Hike any of the more than 300 miles of trails
  • Catch some Dolly Varden trout or Kokanee salmon


The Great Bear Wilderness is on the west side of the Continental Divide, just south of Glacier National Park. In its 286,700 acres, it boasts some wonderful recreational opportunities for all ages.


Great Bear Wilderness is easily accessed. You can get there via US Highway 2 to the north and MT 83 to the west. Trails from forest roads lead into the deep forests of Great Bear. Contact Flathead National Forest at 659 Wolfpack Way, Kalispell, MT 59901 or by phone at 406-758-5200.


The best time to visit the Great Bear Wilderness is from the 1 July through 1 October. You’ll find temperatures range in the 80s or 90s during the summer months.


  • Hiking
    With over 300 miles of trails in this wilderness area, it’s ideal for hiking. Many areas of the interior have never been touched by humans, so you can really get “away from it all.”
  • Fishing
    The Flathead River, flowing through this wilderness area, provides great fishing. You’ll hook whitefish, cutthroat trout, Dolly Varden trout and Kokanee salmon.
  • Whitewater rafting
    You will discover a number of local outfitters to take you on the exciting Class III-IV rapids on the Middle Fork. There are calm sections, too, where you can float and enjoy the scenery.
  • Wildlife Watching
    Enjoying the wildlife here couldn’t be better. You’re sure to see grizzly bears, black bears, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, lynx, wolverines and many more traipsing around the rugged ridges and through the forested river bottoms.

Additional Info

When hiking within Great Bear Wilderness, you should be aware that stream crossings can be dangerous during the snowmelt in spring and during summer rains. If you are venturing into the backcountry, you should be knowledgeable about wilderness survival skills.