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A Guide to Hiking the Bitterroot Mountains

Bitterroot Mountain Hiking: Camping and Landscape

The Bitterroot Mountains offer an amazing array of ecosystems, ranging from gigantic glaciers to heavily forested areas to barren and rocky terrain. There are also many open grasslands and sub-alpine meadows in the Bitterroots. Choosing where to camp can be tough, as the options in Bitterroots are as varied as the landscape. There are dozens of developed campgrounds in the Bitterroot National Forest. Some offer fresh water and toilets, while others are simply primitive clearings designated for pitching a tent [source: U.S. Forest Service]. For families traveling by car, there are a number of developed campgrounds that are easily accessible by the average passenger vehicle.

You can also choose to "rough it" with backcountry camping throughout the Bitterroot Mountains,. Just be sure to follow the "leave no trace" rules of burying human waste, leaving fires dead out, packing all trash, and camping at least 200 feet (61 meters) away from the water's edge. You should also bring navigational gear such as a topographic map and a compass, and be sure to let others know where you intend to go and when to expect your return.

The Bitterroot Mountains' geology of exposed granite, towering glaciers, meandering streams, alpine lakes, steep canyons and ridges make for stunning scenery for hikers and campers. There is also an array of amazing wildlife and sunsets, so be sure to bring your camera.