Your browser is out of date.
This site may not function properly in your current browser. Update Now

Scapegoat Wilderness - Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex | Montana

Natural Area, Conservation Area

The Scapegoat Wilderness was added to the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex through citizen advocacy in 1972. The massive limestone cliffs of Scapegoat Mountain anchor “the Bob’s” Chinese Wall.

The wilderness originally called the Lincoln Back Country, was established through the efforts of Lincoln and Upper Blackfoot Valley residents, business owners and outfitters who sought to preserve what "Hobnail" Tom Edwards referred to as the "hush of the land."

Scapegoat Wilderness – Mills Wilderness Adventure of Montana

Highlights of this Wilderness Area

This wilderness contains many miles of trails for hikers and horse users. It is noted for its hunting, fishing, scenery and geology. Massive limestone cliffs that dominate the Scapegoat Wilderness are an extension of the Bob Marshall’s Chinese Wall. Wildlife includes wolverine, deer, elk, moose, grizzly bear, black bear, mountain goat, mountain sheep and mountain lion. The Bob Marshall/Scapegoat wilderness complex is the only place outside national parks in the lower 48 states that supports a population of grizzly bears. Most of the 14 lakes and about 89 miles of streams in the Scapegoat provide fishing opportunities. Primitive camping is allowed with no public facilities. The Wilderness lies along the Continental Divide and contains this section of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (CDT), a length of approximately 50 miles. Most of the area lies between the elevations of 1,525 m (5,000 ft) at the Blackfoot River to 2,900 m (9,400 ft) on Red Mountain. Topography of the Scapegoat includes rugged ridges, gently sloping alpine meadows, forested slopes and river bottoms.

Key Access Points to this Wilderness

The Scapegoat Wilderness Area created in 1972 and covering 239,936 acres, is an administrative unit of the Helena-Lewis and Clark and Lolo National Forests. The Scapegoat Wilderness straddles the Continental Divide and is located south and adjacent to the Bob Marshall Wilderness. The Wilderness is located 75 miles northeast of Missoula and 10 miles north of Lincoln. Roads adjacent to the Scapegoat include US Highway 287 to the east and Montana Highways 200 and 83 to the south and west.

Driving Directions to Key Access Points

  • Near Lincoln, the Arrastra Creek Trailhead is a popular is popular entry point on the southern edge of the wilderness. Turn off Highway 200 onto Beaver Creek Road one mile west of Lincoln. Follow 10 miles to Arrastra Creek Trailhead. Parking is available at the trailhead, which also has a horse ramp and hitching posts.

  • Indian Meadows Trailhead is one of the major entry point to the wilderness near Lincoln. Turn north onto Copper Creek Road from Highway 200, six miles east of Lincoln. Follow Copper Creek road for seven mile, turn right Road 1882 then go one mile to Indian Meadows Trailhead. The trailhead provides access to Webb Lake, Heart Lake, Red Mountain and the Main Line Trail.

  • A popular entry point along the Rocky Mountain Front on the eastern edge of the wilderness is off MT Highway 83 just past Benchmark, not far from Augusta. Other access points from the east include the trail near Gibson Reservoir, or farther north at Birch Creek.

  • A main trail entry point from the southside is the North Fork Trail. From Clearwater Junction travel east on hwy 200 for 19.5 miles. Turn north on North Fork Blackfoot Road and go 2 miles. Continue going north on North Fork Trailhead Road 5550 and go 8.5 miles to the trailhead.

  • Another access is off State Road 200, by Ovando, north on to Monture Creek Road to the USFS Monture Creek Guard Station that is about 15 km (10 mi) southwest of the Scapegoat Wilderness Area boundary at a valley bottom location on the north side of the Blackfoot River valley near Monture Creek. The site elevation is 1,293 m (4,241 ft).

  • Swan Valley Trail Head Parking by Holland Lake Lodge of US Highway 287.


Open Year Round
*Be prepared for snow on trails conditions from approximately October-May