Hiking Mount Wright – Montana

Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front contains some incredible scenery with pretty rivers, alpine lakes, lush forests, and stunning views of the rugged peaks everywhere you look. We truly love every adventure we go on in this area, but the hike up Mount Wright may be one of our favorites so far. This is not an easy hike, but the views from the top are absolutely worth it! Here are the details of hiking the Mount Wright Trail.

Hazy views from the Mount Wright summit
Hazy views from the Mount Wright summit

Getting to the Mount Wright Trailhead

The Mount Wright Trailhead sits in the Teton River Valley area of the Rocky Mountain Front. The nearest town is Choteau just under 40 miles away from the trailhead.

From Choteau, head north a short ways on US-89 before turning left onto Teton Canyon Road. The road becomes gravel as you head further into the Rocky Mountain Front, but it is generally well-maintained. Follow Teton Canyon Road past the ski area, over the pass, and back down the other side until you reach the trailhead.

There is a small area to park on the left near a gate and horse pen. This gate is where the trail begins. Alternatively, you can continue past that small parking area, cross the bridge, and park near the campground. There’s a vault toilet here if needed. From the campground, you’ll have to make your way back across the river to the start of the trail.

Fall colors in the Rocky Mountain Front
Fall colors in the Rocky Mountain Front

Fees & Regulations

The Mount Wright Trail is located in Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest. There are no fees to hike here.

Use caution when driving in the area as there are free-range horses, cattle, and a lot of wildlife around. Proper food storage is required as this is bear country. Pets are permitted on this trail.

Montana traffic jam
Montana traffic jam

Hiking Mount Wright

Hike Overview:

Hike Type: Challenging out-and-back trail

Distance: About 7 miles (11.3 kilometers) roundtrip

Elevation Gain: Around 3,200 feet (975 meters)

Duration: 4-6 hours

Sitting way up high on Mount Wright
Sitting way up high on Mount Wright

The Hike:

We headed for the Mount Wright Trail early on a sunny October morning. We were hoping to get to see some Montana fall colors before our trip to Europe, and even on the drive there, we were not disappointed!

The first section of the hike follows the West Fork Teton Trail before meeting the Mount Wright Trail less than a half mile in. The Mount Wright Trail is not marked, but stick to the right when you come to a fork and a sign marking the West Fork Teton Trail. From the start, the path leads up the valley at a steady incline, and it continues to get steeper as you go. The views of the valley are beautiful as you make your way up. We also saw a grizzly bear across the ravine from the trail!

Continue past the West Fork Teton Trail sign onto the Mount Wright Trail
Continue past the West Fork sign onto the Mount Wright Trail

Soon, the trail enters a gully with Mount Wright towering up to the left. It is fairly steep at this point, and there is little shade as the path winds through an old burn area. The trail reaches a saddle between two peaks before making another steep ascent up the rocky side of Mount Wright. As we climbed higher, the views kept getting better and better! After a long ascent, we reached another saddle and headed to the right to make the last push up to the summit.

An old burn area below Mount Wright
An old burn area below Mount Wright
The last rocky climb to the summit
The last rocky climb to the summit

We thought the views the entire way were stunning, but looking out over the endless rugged peaks from the top had us in awe. It was a bit smoky, but we still could see pretty far as we looked over The Bob and towards Glacier National Park.

Enjoying the amazing views together at the top
Enjoying the amazing views together at the top

After eating our packed lunch at the top and enjoying the views for a bit, we headed back down the way we came. This is one of those hikes that sometimes feels as difficult on the way down as it did on the way up – our knees were really feeling it walking back down some of those steep sections! We took our time, enjoying the fall colors and nice weather as we made our way back to the car.

What to Bring to Hike Mount Wright

Water

Sturdy Walking Shoes: The trail is very rocky in spots, so we’d recommend sturdy hiking boots.

Mini First Aid Kit: An item we always like to have just in case.

Food: There are some great spots to hang out and eat some snacks or a packed lunch along the trail.

Camera

Bear Spray: Bears frequent the area, so bring along your bear spray and know how to use it.

Layers: Even in the summer, mornings and evenings can be chilly. It can also be very windy, especially at the top. We recommend bringing light layers and/or a wind breaker. Heavier layers and gloves plus a beanie may be needed during colder parts of the year.

Sun Protection: Most of the trail is unshaded, so bring sunglasses, sunscreen, and/or a hat.

Other Gear: You may want trekking poles if you enjoy hiking with them. Also consider spikes/crampons, depending on the time of year. The summit sits at over 8,000 feet, so you may encounter snow, even patches into June.

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