Supporting stewardship of the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness 
and fostering appreciation of wild lands.

2016 Projects


West Boulder River Trail Clearing: GIRLS TRIP

Southwest of Big Timber.  GIRL SCOUTS!  All girls who are of high school age are encouraged to sign up for this volunteer work trip with the Montana/Wyoming chapter of the Girl Scouts and the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Foundation.  We will be backpacking up the W. Boulder Trail about 5-6 miles, setting up camp for three nights, and working at cutting back the new-growth lodgepole pines that have really grown over the W. Boulder Trail. 

The Beartooth Backcountry Horsemen will be packing in heavy food, gear and tools for us!  Moderate in difficulty.  Elevation ~6500 ft. Register through the Girl Scout's website. Moderate in difficulty. There is a $100 charge to cover food, transportation, and gear rental.   ALL girls are welcome, even if you’re not in Girl Scouts!   We had a blast last year, so please join us! 

Initial Creek/West Fork Stillwater

The W. Fork of the Stillwater is one of the most beautiful and secluded portals into the A-B Wilderness. The ABWF and the Forest Service are teaming up to install a bridge and improve the first mile of trail in the Wilderness near Initial Creek Campground. This is a great place to car camp, with short hike distances to work each day. Because of relatively easy access to the trailhead and shorter hiking distances, this is a terrific, more moderate project for everyone. It is also possible to join us for just a portion of the project if you can’t attend the whole thing!

Project length is 3-4 days. Elevation is about 8000 feet. Difficulty is moderate. There is a campsite but it's primitive, so food storage containers but no water or services. The access road into the campground is pretty rough; high clearance vehicles are recommended (although transportation can be arranged). Maximum 8 people.




Knox Lake Trail

Gardiner/Jardine area:  For this project we will be hiking along the Bear Creek trail to Knox Lake, a wilderness lake that sits under the shoulder of Monitor Peak, reflecting its regal silhouette. This is a very popular trail for those around the Gardiner area and it much needs our tender loving care. We received a major grant to fund this project!  Climbing along the 5-mile trek to the lake, you will walk through forest and meadow, and cross back and forth across Bear Creek. We will camp at the Bear Creek Trailhead and hike in to work each day, accompanying a few of the Gardiner District’s trail crew who will be helping us. Our main task consists of building sections of turnpike, or a raised bed trail, through muddy, swampy sections of the trail.

Project will be 5 days, and strenuous in difficulty. Elevation is around 7000 feet. All food, tools and safety equipment will be provided.  Maximum 10 people.  We’ll meet at the Gardiner Ranger Station at 9:00 a.m.  Because we will be camping at the Trailhead, you can join us for some or all of the 5-day project.



East Baldy Basin Trail

Close to Livingston!  This year, we’re offering a multi-day trip that is close by, easily accessible, and more moderate in difficulty.  We will be fixing up portions of the East Baldy trail, and rerouting other sections, for a total of five days of work.  And we’ll be camping just a few miles up the trail, so if you can only join us for a portion of the time, hike in and join us for what you can!. This project will include trail clearing and brushing and well as grading and decommissioning. All the heavy stuff, including food and tools and some of your heavier gear will be horsepacked in. 

Getting in is fairly easy; the work will be moderate to fairly strenuous, so this trip can accommodate a variety of ages and abilities. If you’ve put off joining one of our work trips before, this one might just be your golden opportunity!  Elevation begins at 6500 feet and climbs to 7200 at camp. Once we’re there, hiking to and from camp is minimal.  There will be a variety of trail jobs to choose from, including lopping and decommissioning of old trail, plus ‘benching’ and grading new trail above the valley floor

Project length is 5 days. All ages welcome; maximum 10 people.


Lake Abundance Creek/Rock Creek Trailwork 

Cooke City vicinity.  We received a major federal grant in 2015 to keep tackling this multi-year trail project. The lovely wilderness lake, Lake Abundance, lies below Daisy Pass northwest of Cooke City and is the gateway for this project.  We will be gathering a group of adventurous volunteers for a 7-day work trip to establish and improve a triangular section of trail bounded by Slough Creek to the west and Horseshoe Mountain to the north.  We will be packed in by a horsepacker 6 miles from the trailhead to where we will have a wilderness base camp along Abundance Creek near the junction with Rock Creek. We’ll hike to work each day from camp and work alongside a Forest Service trail crew reestablishing a little-used trail that works its way west towards Horseshoe Mountain, eventually connecting to Lake of the Woods and the Stillwater River. in the heart of the A-B Wilderness. All meals provided.

Project duration is 7 days, due to this remote location and difficult access. From Daisy Pass, we must 4WD down together to the trailhead @ Lake Abundance where we will start this trip. Be prepared to hike in and out 6 miles with a light pack on the first and last day of the trip.  You will not need to carry food, tools, stoves, your tent and sleeping bag/pad. We’ll hike up to 3 miles each day when working.  Elevation is ~9000 feet. Maximum 8 people.  It will probably not be possible to accommodate those who cannot join the trip in its entirety.



Lake Plateau Trail Restoration

S. of Big Timber; southwest of the Stillwater Mine.  The Lake Plateau, which separates the Boulder River from the Stillwater River, is a famed destination in the A-B Wilderness, known for its remoteness and many, many pretty lakes. Recently, the ABWF received a major grant to work on this trail system around Rainbow, Pipit, and Wounded Man Lakes, and we need volunteers to help us. This is a grand opportunity to visit a favorite part of the A-B, and we’ll help you get there!

Project duration is 7 days, due to this area’s remoteness and the day it takes each way to hike in and out of the area. It’s a fairly strenuous hike in (8.5 miles) via Upsidedown Creek from the Boulder River.  Elevation begins at about 6400 feet and climbs another 2400 ft.  Bear in mind, we will lighten your load significantly by using a horsepacker to carry heavy food, tools, tents, sleeping bags, etc. in for you.  This trail is well travelled and maintained, but our camp will be remote, with no opportunity to get in and out on your own to join us.

We will meet at the (former) Big Timber Ranger Station @ 8:30 a.m. and carpool to the trailhead together.  It’s close to two hours from Big Timber down the rough Boulder River Rd. to Upsidedown Creek.  Logistically, we will need to collect everyone's personal tents and heavy gear, before August 22nd, so the horsepackers can load up; they will be travelling a different route to the Lake Plateau.

Day Trips

Livingston area.  Come kick off the season by helping on our traditional National Trails Day Project!  There’s much trail clearing to do!

The South Fork of Deep Creek, which burned in the 2012 Pine Creek Fire, is a beautiful mountain stream flowing west out of the Absarokas one drainage north of the popular Pine Creek trail and is considerably wilder and less visited. The trail follows the steep-sided valley south of Mt. Delano, through several meadows before ascending to Davis Divide at 9,000 feet. The trail's in relatively good shape except for some erosion near the divide, but with the chronic winds this winter, the trees have assuredly come down, and there will be plenty to clear off the trail come June. Stronger hikers will move ahead 5-miles to the Divide and work their way down, while others will concentrate on the trail down lower.  The hike is moderate; harder as you get towards the Divide.  The work is also moderate, focusing mostly on using crosscut saws to clear the trail.

We will meet at the Livingston Ranger Station at 8:00 a.m. and carpool to the Trailhead. Please prepare for the day and bring a lunch/snacks and plenty of water. Tools and safety equipment will be provided; bring work gloves if you have them. The view behind you into Paradise Valley is spectacular on this steeper but beautiful hike.


Nichols Creek Trail Construction 

Red Lodge area.  Join us once again for Community Trails Day to help complete the Nichols Creek Trail on the flank of Red Lodge Mountain. Last year we finished nearly a mile of the new trail; we still have another mile to go.  When completed, the trail will connect the ski area to the Nichols Creek Trailhead (tiny parking area 1/4 mile past the jct. of Ski Run Rd./West Fork Rd.).  When we’re done we should have a world-class trail for mountain biking, horseback riding, and hiking. 

As many workers as possible are needed!  Come for a few hours or the whole day; all ages and abilities are welcome, as there are a variety of jobs. Last year we managed to draw nearly 40 people for Community Trails Day!  Please meet at the lower parking lot of the ski area on Saturday, June 11th @ 9:00 am.   A Forest Service trail crew will be there to help us, providing tools and knowhow.  Wear long pants and boots, please.  And bring water, work gloves, and snacks to hold you over till the picnic.  Community Trails Day over the past 5 years has done much to grow our trail options, connecting Red Lodge to all the wonderful Forest Service trails around.  We always celebrate with a big picnic afterwards!  Food is provided!


Bassett Ck./LaDuke Springs Weed Removal

Gardiner area:  Volunteers…We’re going back into this pretty basin tucked above the Paradise Valley to once again eradicate noxious weeds.  Join us for a full day of weed warfare, pulling, digging and spraying houndstongue, knapweed, etc. from the Wilderness just north of Gardiner.  Be prepared to hike 6-7 miles on the day. Tools and safety equipment will be provided.

Bassett Creek flows into the Yellowstone River at LaDuke Spring, 6 miles north of Gardiner.  We’ll meet at the La Duke Trailhead (5500 feet) at 9:00 a.m.  There are a multitude of invasive weeds along this drainage leading into the A-B Wilderness, and we need your help spotting them and getting rid of them. Weeds are one of the greatest threats to the native ecosystem. Our repeat efforts make a huge difference in keeping weeds at bay.  Difficulty is fairly easy. The first 2 miles of trail is fairly steep, dry and without shade. Bring your own lunch, snacks, and plenty of water for the day.  




Nichols Creek Trail Construction 2

September 24th is Public Lands Day.  We need YOU! to help complete the Nichols Creek Trail.  Last year we finished nearly a mile of the new trail; we still have another mile to go before linking it to the trail down to the W. Fork of Rock Creek. When completed, the trail will connect the ski area to the Nichols Creek Trailhead (tiny parking area 1/4 mile past the jct. of Ski Run Rd./West Fork Rd.).  When we’re done we should have a world-class trail for mountain biking, horseback riding, and hiking. 

Come one, come all!  Come for a few hours or the whole day; all ages and abilities are welcome, as there are a variety of jobs. Last year we drew nearly 20 people for Public Lands Day!  It’s our late season chance to finish off what we didn’t finish earlier in the summer!  Please meet at the lower parking lot of the ski area on Saturday, September 24th @ 9:00 am.   Wear long pants and boots, and bring water, work gloves, and a lunch/snacks.  We will regather at Sam’s Taproom after the workday is over to celebrate!



Mobile Menu


Donate to the ABWF!

Go to top