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History of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness


In 1907 when the Forest Service was created, a large portion of the Bitterroot Valley became some of the first National Forest land in the United States. In 1964 the United States congress designated the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness area as part of the original Wilderness act and now totals over 1.25 million acres.

Definition of Wilderness

A wilderness in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.

The Terrain

This vast wildland is one of the roughest mountain areas in the Rocky Mountain Range. The wilderness forms a rugged, glacier-carved border between Idaho and Montana. During our trips we are we are always surrounded by raw snow covered granite peaks and sheer granite cliffs and canyons. Our sure footed mules and horses have no problem getting our guests in and out safe and sound.


The Vegetation

Below the granite peaks lies vast stretches of virgin timberland. Western Larch, Lodge Pole pine, and Alpine Fir up high on the canyon walls, with Douglass Fir, Ponderosa Pine and Spruce forests along the creeks. Some of the trees are 5 foot wide at the base and were growing long before Lewis and Clark first came wet. Native grasses and wild flowers grow in the meadows close to our camps.

The Water

Water is pure and plentiful in the lakes and streams of the Selway Bitterroot.  Abundant numbers of cutthroat, Rainbow, Brook and Bull Trout live in these streams and lakes.

The Wildlife

Hardly any humans visit the huge trail less portions of this wilderness, which makes it all the more appealing for the Selway-Bitterroot elk herd, plus deer, moose, mountain goats, black bears, mountain lions and wolves.

The Weather

During our packtrip season, July-August, our temperatures average from 70's in the day time to 50's at night time. The majority of our rain comes in May and June. July and August are generally very nice. Snow begins to accumulate in October and obtains depths up to 10 feet before disappearing by our camps in Mid to late June.



Anything motorized is not allowed into the wilderness. Chainsaws are not allowed in the wilderness. Wood must be cut with axes and cross-cuts. Here is a picture of the hard work that must be done to fuel our camp fires.



We charge $200 a day per person, 3 day minimum trip required. 2-4 people per trip.

Includes: meals, tents, mules and guide.

 Children are 1/2 price.


Reserve your trip Now !

25% Deposit due to book a trip.

Deposits are non-refundable.



Bitterroot Outfitters
1842 Hwy 93 so
Hamilton, MT 59840
Send mail  with questions or comments to us.
Copyright 2001 Bitterroot Outfitters
Last modified: March 02, 2001