The Ultimate 3-Day Backpacking Adventure in Montana with Bitterroot Backpacking
One thing I had always wanted to do but was too afraid to do as a solo traveler was go backpacking. I’ve spent countless nights under the stars in the mountains in my Jeep, but craved an even deeper connection with nature. The idea of exploring even deeper into the mountains, and more days beneath the starry sky enticed me. However, before I felt comfortable even thinking about backpacking on my own, I knew there were a few things I needed to learn and master. That’s why in June 2023, I decided to take myself and Chi on a 3-day guided backpacking trip in Montana with Bitterroot Backpacking to learn the ins and outs.
The backpacking trip to Little Rock Creek Lake proved to be an ideal choice for both beginner and intermediate backpackers. This hidden gem offers breathtaking views, secluded glacial lakes perfect for swimming or floating, and trails that provide a moderate challenge. Over the course of three days, we hiked approximately 14 miles, gained about 3000 miles of elevation, and floated in about 7 alpine lakes. Luke, the owner of Bitterroot Backpacking, possesses unparalleled knowledge about the area, including its terrain, wildlife, flora, and fauna. To make things even better, Bitterroot Backpacking provides most of the necessary gear and food, ensuring a stress-free adventure.
Keep reading to learn everything we did on our unforgettable trip and everything you need to know about backpacking with Bitterroot Backpacking!
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Preparing for Your Trip
To begin your backpacking journey, visit Bitterroot Backpacking’s website and secure your spot on one of their day trips or backpacking trips. Check the schedule and choose the trip that aligns best with your preferences. Once you’ve booked, start getting excited for the adventure that awaits you!
Call with Luke
Upon booking, Luke will reach out to you via email to confirm your trip and schedule a call a few weeks before your departure. This call is an opportunity to go over the trip itinerary, meal options, equipment, and packing information. Feel free to ask any questions you may have to ensure you’re fully prepared.
Since Luke provides most of the equipment for the trip, packing is a breeze. All you need to bring is your clothes, items for your dog if you have one, and personal belongings such as your ID or some box wine.
On Trail – Little Rock Creek Lake
On the first day, we met Luke at the Little Rock Creek trailhead around noon. It was super easy to get to and there was plenty of parking available. This is where Luke showed me all the gear we’d be using and how to pack the backpack. Then, we headed out on trail around 1:15pm!
On the first day, we had a roughly 4.5 mile hike to our camp spot at the lake. The first mile or so featured a downhill section with views of Lake Como. As beautiful and easy as that start was, I kept in mind what that meant for the last day – a steep uphill right before arriving back at the car.
After that section we began to climb in elevation. We had about 1600 feet total to gain this day. The hike was moderately challenging, it had me out of breath for sure but was never too intense. It featured a couple of creek crossings and some pretty waterfalls. We stopped for our first meal about three quarters of the way in at a rock Luke has aptly named “Snack Rock”, and found a perfect stream to fill up our water bottles not long before we reached the lakes.
We reached our camp spot on the lake around 4:15pm. We then indulged in an evening by the fire, a delicious campfire dinner, watched the sunset, and enjoyed the tranquility of our surroundings.
The second day was definitely my favorite! The sun was shining and we had so much fun. Chi and I started the day with cozy snuggles in our tent, followed by a leisurely morning of floating on the pack raft, yoga, meditation, and a hearty breakfast. Eager to explore more lakes, we then embarked on a 7-mile round trip hike with an elevation gain of 1200 feet. Though moderately challenging, the breathtaking views along the way made every step worthwhile. The trail’s unmaintained condition required some bushwhacking and eventually, we arrived at a series of glacial lakes where we spent the afternoon. We took our time, embracing the day by exploring each lake with the pack raft, napping, eating, journaling, and just enjoying the blissful mountain environment.
After a fulfilling afternoon, we made our way back to camp for dinner, sunset, tea, and an early night. It was the perfect day!
Day 3 was our final day on trail. I woke up super early this morning and enjoyed some tea over the sunrise while reflecting on the experience. I was so glad that I got the chance to do this backpacking trip. I had such a great time hiking and felt like I had gained both the knowledge and confidence to go on more backpacking trips with Chi.
I went back to bed after my sunrise meditation to snuggle with Chi and it started raining lightly during that time so we all spent the morning in our tents before packing up and doing our return trek back to the car.
The weather held up during our hike-it was cloudy but never rainy. The trail was pretty slick from the rain earlier in the day though so we took it pretty slow and steady. The steep uphill at the end was as horrible as imagined, but we survived and thrived and then got back home to the car around 1:30pm. Chi and I both took baths and passed out early. It was both an amazing and tiring trip!
Lessons Learned from Bitterroot Backpacking
My experience with Bitterroot Backpacking not only provided endless enjoyment but also served as a valuable learning opportunity. Throughout the trip, I acquired essential skills that would allow me to spend more time in the backcountry, such as water filtration and proper bear bagging techniques. Additionally, I got to try some new campfire meals and deepened my understanding of Leave No Trace principles. With the chance to test various gear and equipment, I discovered new ways to safely enjoy activities in the great outdoors. Overall, Chi and I had an exceptional time on our backpacking trip with Bitterroot Backpacking, and I recommend booking a trip for an unforgettable adventure of your own!
Click here to read more blog posts about life as a full time solo traveler. If you want to make traveling more of a priority this year, watch my free webinar that will teach you how you too can travel full time. And lastly, connect with us on Instagram! We’d love to get to know you! Happy traveling!