To get the flavor of some of our past projects, look through this archive of projects from previous years.
You can also have a look at this year’s projects.
East Fork Boulder River Trail Maintenance
Aug 22, 2018 – Aug 28, 2018
with the American Hiking Society
Location: Box Canyon Guard Station/E. Fork (Boulder River) TH.
Camp: Backcountry Campsite up the E. Fork Trail, near Lake Kathleen (7550 ft.)
The East Fork of the Boulder River Trail accesses both the Lake Plateau (via Rainbow Cr.) and the headwaters of Slough Creek in the remote center of the A-B Wilderness. We will be setting up camp for the week at tiny Lake Kathleen, five miles up the E. Fork Trail, and working our way up towards the Slough Creek divide. We will be clearing the trail, doing much-needed trail maintenance, and installing numerous water bars. The Beartooth Backcountry Horsemen will be packing in our heavy food, camping equipment, and tools, so you’ll be carrying a lighter pack into Lake Kathleen.
Elevation Gain: 6600 – 8500 (1900 ft). The dirt road up the Main Boulder River from McLeod, MT to its end at the Box Canyon Guard Station is a long, slow, and very bumpy ride and certainly not appropriate for lower clearance cars. It’s approximately 32 miles to the end from McLeod, but those 32 miles take 2+ hours to traverse. That’s why we’ll meet in Big Timber to caravan down together.
Lake Plateau Trail Reconstruction
Aug 9, 2018 – Aug 15, 2018
Work Location: Between Wounded Man Lake & Jordan Pass on the Lake Plateau. We will be rebuilding trail that has eroded badly on the way up to Jordan Pass.
Camp Location: A backcountry campsite at Rainbow Lake, ~11 miles up the Upsidedown Creek Trail from the Main Boulder River Road.
Description: This trip is an adventurous and ambitious project that the ABWF has taken on with the Forest Service! The pay-off is that camp and the work will be located in one of the most spectacular places in the entire A-B Wilderness—the Lake Plateau! It will combine a long fairly difficult day hike in and out, with strenuous trail-work at altitude for the five days in between. We’ll be grading the trail, installing checks and filling in behind them, and installing drainage structures.
Special Considerations: Only for very fit volunteers! It is a 11+ mile hike from the Boulder River and the Upsidedown Creek Trailhead at Hicks Park (6400 ft.) into our backcountry camp near Rainbow Lake (9200 ft.). Our food, tools and heavy camp gear will be packed in by the Beartooth Backcountry Horsemen, but everyone will need to carry a daypack with their own personal items to camp. It’s a good idea to think minimalistically and only bring what is essential to your backpacking needs. Elevation gain: 2900 ft. We’ll be working regularly at roughly 9000 ft. in elevation.
Initial Creek Bridge Abutment Construction
Aug 3, 2018 – Aug 6, 2018
Location: Nye/Absarokee, MT
Camp: Primitive campsite/Car Camping by the bridge near the trailhead; pitch a tent or bring camper.
Description A new bridge is being installed over the W. Fork of the Stillwater River near Initial Creek Campground. A crew is needed to build the bridge abutments at the ends of the bridge. We’ll also be working on improving an access trail that comes into the Initial Creek area. Once bridge and abutments are in place, wilderness users (especially horses) will be able to park in the large parking lot near the campground, and hike or horse ride into the W. Stillwater Trailhead using the bridge and 1-mile trail we built a previous summer.
The road from the Stillwater Mine up to Initial Creek Campground and the West Stillwater Trailhead is quite rough the last 2 miles, and best for high clearance vehicles only. We can carpool together from the Old Nye Picnic Area (~3 miles past Nye). We give preference to those who can work the entire 4 days, but if you can spare only a portion of that time, you can still join us at the campsite in time to go to work in the morning (by 8 a.m.).
East Rosebud Weed Pull
Jul 14, 2018
Location: E. Rosebud Trail near the Wilderness sign
Part of what makes Wilderness areas great is the character of land. Over the years we have been working to maintain the natural integrity of the A-B Wilderness by fighting against invasive species that threaten to push out the native species. Come join us pull and spray weeds to help rid one of our most popular trails of invasive species and maintain the natural ecology of the A-B Wilderness.
Nichols Creek II Trail Construction
Sep 23, 2017
Public Lands Day--We will return to the Nichols Creek and hopefully put the final touches on it before the snows fly!
Kersey Lake/Russell Creek Turnpike Work
Aug 11, 2017 – Aug 15, 2017
This is the start of the famed thru-hike from Cooke City to the E. Rosebud (infamously known as "The Beaten Path"). Any of you who have hiked this trail know that the first section of the trail up to Kersey Lake is notoriously boggy. We will work on adding drainage structures and build framed, raised "Turnpike" through the muddy stretches. We will stay at the Cooke City historic cabin and hike to work each day.
Lake Fork Trail Improvement
Aug 3, 2017 – Aug 7, 2017
Volunteers are needed to improve the popular trail into Lost Lake, Keyser-Brown Lake and Sundance Pass.
Lake Abundance Trail Improvement
Jul 27, 2017 – Jul 30, 2017
We will be joining up with the Beartooth District's trail crew and help them improve the Lake Abundance trail in the Upper Stillwater area.
Knox Lake Turnpike Building
Jul 14, 2017 – Jul 18, 2017
Our group will car-camp at the primitive Timber Camp campground above Jardine, and hike to work each day on the Knox Lake Trail. We will focus on installing more sections of turnpike and improving very muddy stretches of the trail.
East Rosebud Weed Pull
Jul 8, 2017
The first two miles of the famed E. Rosebud Trail is in need of regular surveying of invasive weeds (knapweed, Canada Thistle, etc.). We will meet at 9:00 a.m. at the E. Rosebud Trailhead, hike in, locate and get rid of any weeds we find. We will manually pull and chemically spray weeds.
Nichols Creek Trail Building
Jun 10, 2017
Community Trails Day--We are hoping to complete the Nichols Creek Trail this summer, but need a massive effort once again to make it happen. This year we particularly invite area high school students to join us in our efforts.
Suce Creek Trail Work
Jun 3, 2017
National Trails Day Project. Suce Creek is the Trailhead closest to Livingston and most heavily used. We will be making much needed repairs and improvements to two sections of this trail on June 3. We can accommodate as many volunteers as we can get to sign up!
Jun 1, 2017 – Sep 30, 2017
While the ABWF offers lots of volunteer trail projects, we realize not everyone wants to hoist a Pulaski or wield a crosscut saw in order to help…
Like to hike? Have good people skills? Want to help others treat the Wilderness with the same care and respect that you do? Consider becoming a Trail Ambassador.
Simply put, Trail Ambassadors will hike the popular trails that lead to some of the A-B’s most beautiful and most visited destinations, and make friendly contacts with trail users they encounter. When a Trail Ambassador meets someone at the trailhead or on trail, they will help gather data on who is using the trails and for what types of activities, provide them with helpful information on Wilderness regulations and best practices, and also reduce impacts to trails and lakeshores in the wilderness.
Our goal is to post Trail Ambassadors at some of the heaviest used trails and trailheads across the A-B Wilderness—places like Pine Creek, the East Rosebud, and Mystic Lake—in order to have a more regular presence in these places and hopefully create positive changes on some of the A-B’s most impacted places. Trail Ambassadors would hike the trails and help clean up impacted sites, reporting back on issues and impacts that are causing degradation to the wilderness backcountry.
Nichols Creek (Public Lands Day)
Sep 24, 2016
Red Lodge area. 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!
Lake Plateau Trail Restoration
Aug 25, 2016 – Aug 31, 2016
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.
Lake Abundance Creek/Rock Creek
Aug 11, 2016 – Aug 17, 2016
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 sleepwe’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.
East Baldy Basin
Jul 28, 2016 – Aug 1, 2016
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.
Jul 15, 2016 – Jul 19, 2016
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.
Initial Creek/West Fork Stillwater
Jul 2, 2016 – Jul 11, 2016
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.
West Boulder River Trail Clearing
Jun 27, 2016 – Jun 30, 2016
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!
Bassett Creek/LaDuke Springs Weeds
Jun 25, 2016
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.
Timberline Lake Education
Jun 21, 2016
Spoke to group of 7 girl scouts about widlerness ethics/leave no trace.
Nichols Creek (Community Trails Day)
Jun 11, 2016
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!
Wilderness Character Monitoring
Jun 11, 2016 – Sep 24, 2016
Go backpacking! Visit places you haven’t gone in the A-B Wilderness. Help collect valuable data about the condition and wilderness character of many backcountry sites. Learn skills from student leaders from the Wilderness Institute at the University of Montana in a small group setting. We are continuing a major effort started last summer in partnership with the Wilderness Institute and the Custer Gallatin National Forest to survey/inventory impacts at over 1300 sites in the A-B Wilderness backcountry and we need your help! Cost: FREE! Dinners provided; you provide breakfast, lunch and snacks.
Trip #1 (June 30-July 5): this trip will start at the East Fork Mill Trailhead, which is located off Mill Creek Road (approx 40 min. south of Livingston). It will go up to Mill Pass and down through the West Boulder drainage and end at that trailhead (approx 1 hour SE of Livingston). It is a 26-mile trip, which sounds long, but it is really a pretty mellow trail and there aren’t tons of campsites, they just happen to be strung out. This trip is more advanced due to some snow travel over the pass and creek crossings that can sometimes be going pretty good that time of year.
Trip #2 (July 23-28): this trip will start and end at Box Canyon trailhead at the end of the Main Boulder Road. You will travel up the East Fork as far as Lake Kathleen and then head south to the heads of the E. Fk and Slough Creek drainages. It is about 12 miles to the furthest sites. If possible, the group will also hit the sites around Blue Lake. The group will most likely come out the way they went in. This is a really beautiful area and pretty unused since most people divert to the plateau. There will be some off trail hiking to hit some of the sites at the very head of the E. Fk. Drainage.
Trip #3 (August 16-21): this trip involves the least amount of backpacking and moving camp, as it will all be concentrated around Pine Creek and Jewel Lakes. The trailhead is very accessible from Livingston (20 minutes south) and it is 5 miles up to the lake with an elevation gain of 3000 ft+. This inventory can be completed in 5 days instead of 6, but sticking around an extra day could leave time for off-trail hiking to some upper lakes to see what use is happening up there. Plus, there will be ample time to do some campsite rehab. I would consider this the easiest of the trips due to the short mileage, but it is still a good push to get up there.
For more information about these trips, or to register, visit the Wilderness Institute: http://www.cfc.umt.edu/wi/education/citizen-science/volunteer.php#volunteer
South Fork Deep Creek (National Trails Day)
Jun 4, 2016
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 III
Sep 26, 2015
Public Lands Day in the Red Lodge Area! Many people have asked if we will be working any further on the new Nichols Creek Trail. ABWF is once again teaming up with the Forest Service, Pedal United, and BRTA to make progress on a great new local trail. We hope you'll join us again!
We are asking you, once again, to come out for Public Lands Day on Saturday, September 26th at 9:00 a.m. to help build this new trail. The combined efforts of the ABWF, Forest Service, BRTA, Red Lodge Hiking Club and MCC have made staggering progress on this trail! When completed, the trail will connect the Nichols Creek Trailhead (tiny parking area 1/4 mile past the junction of Ski Run Rd. and the West Fork Rd.) to the Lower Parking Lot at Red Lodge Mt. Ski Area. Meet at the lower parking lot at the ski area. We’ll start working where we left off, now well over a mile from the parking lot, clearing out downed timber and lots of brush while establishing a clear trail that can be used by hikers, horses, skiers and mountain bikes. The trail options connecting the town of Red Lodge to the Forest Service trails to the west just keep multiplying!
Difficulty is moderate. There are a variety of jobs that are difficult to easier in nature, and not a lot of hiking is involved. Elevation is ~7100 feet. Bring your own lunch and snacks. We'll meet at Sam's Taproom afterward to celebrate the end of a great season. Volunteers will receive free beer tokens! Everyone is welcome.
East Fork Boulder
Aug 13, 2015 – Aug 17, 2015
The East Fork Trail is a major access point to the famed Lake Plateau to the east from the Boulder River. Its trailhead lies all the way at the south end of the Boulder River Road at the Box Canyon Guard Station. We will be using the cabin at Box Canyon as a basecamp and hiking up the trail to work each day. Primarily we will be replacing defunct water bars and doing general trail improvements over the first three miles of trail.
Food is provided by the ABWF. A fully-refundable deposit is required.
Red Lodge Creek Plateau
Aug 6, 2015 – Aug 10, 2015
See what a group of volunteers can do when they become wilderness trail builders! There’s still a bit more work to do on the Senia Creek Trail leading to the top of the Red Lodge Creek Plateau, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a prettier location to work than this. This is the fourth year we have led a work trip to the plateau and are proud of the fact that ABWF volunteers have built this 2-mile stretch of trail—a vast improvement over the old trail. Join us as we finish the final section of trail in this 4-year effort. Difficulty is strenuous. Elevation is ~9000 feet.
East Rosebud Weeds
Aug 1, 2015
The trails in the East Rosebud are some of the most heavily used in the A-B Wilderness, and most susceptible to invasive weeds. Join us as a weed warrior to hunt them down and eradicate them! Difficulty is easy. Elevation is ~6500 feet.
Jul 17, 2015 – Jul 22, 2015
The Lake Abundance Trailhead is a popular area near the headwaters of the Stillwater River, 4 miles below Lulu Pass, and just north of Cooke City. Our purpose is to improve the Lake Abundance Creek trail that heads west from the Lake, and then keep working to the junction with Rock Creek trail that comes in from the northeast by way of Horseshoe Mt. and Lake of the Woods. We will set up a basecamp near the trailhead in this beautiful basin and hike out each day to begin our work. The length of the trail to the junction with Rock Creek is 6.3 miles. All food is provided. A fully-refundable deposit is required.
Jul 6, 2015 – Jul 10, 2015
This multi-day trip leaves from the Palmer Mountain Trailhead about a 45 minute drive east of Gardiner and Jardine. Our crew of volunteers and Forest Service personnel will hike in and set up a backcountry camp 4.5 miles in, and do various work projects over 5 days and 4 nights. We will be installing water bars, building checks and filling in rutted trail, and clearing the trail of brush. The Forest Service will pack in our food, heavy tools and supplies by horse, so you can save your energy for trailwork. You don’t need to be a skilled backpacker to help on this trip. Food is provided. A fully refundable deposit is required to confirm your space.
Nichols Creek Trail
Jun 27, 2015
Come out for Community Trails Day to help build this new trail outside of Red Lodge. We'll be clearing out downed timber and lots of brush while establishing a clear trail that can be used by hikers, horses, skiers and mountain bikes.
Bassett Creek Weeds Project
Jun 13, 2015
Don’t let Weeds Win! Join us for a full day of weed warfare. Volunteers will pull, dig, and chemically spray all the noxious weeds we can find in this Wilderness access area just off the Paradise Valley.
National Trails Day-Wallace Creek Trail
Jun 6, 2015
Each year the ABWF puts together a day-long work project to help out a trail on National Trails Day! This year you can join us for general trail maintenance on the E. Baldy Trail north of Elephanthead Mt. to the southeast of Livingston. As always, long pants and hiking boots are a must. Please pack your own lunch and snacks.