We thrive on the good work of volunteers. We believe that getting volunteers like you actively involved in your wild lands connects you in a deeper, more lasting way. And makes all of us better stewards of precious places like the Absaroka-Beartooths!

2019 Volunteer Opportunities

We have a lot of new projects to choose from in 2019! Read below.

Our published Guidebook to Volunteer Projects is currently under construction

Here are 5 reasons you should join us on one of our trips…

  1. Tangible results. You will know that you accomplished something at the end of the day!
  2. Safety and Fun in numbers. Many people who love the outdoors might still be intimidated to spend more than a day out for fear of foul weather, getting lost, or maybe grizzly bears. Participate in our group trips and set those fears aside, learn new skills, and get to know new people.
  3. FREE! Adventures like this for FREE? That’s right! We provide the food on all multi-day trips. All you do is meet us, provide your own camping gear, and we handle the rest. We’ll even coordinate car-pooling when possible.
  4. Experiences for all abilities. Our trips vary in difficulty. We offer easier day-projects and citizen science projects, as well as multi-day trips which can be physically quite strenuous! BUT fear not… Every project has tasks that engage all abilities. With everyone’s help we get a lot done!
  5. We make it easy! We have horses pack in all our tools, food—even sleeping bags and tents! You hike in with a much lighter pack. Even if you are not a backpacker or capable of carrying a lot, these trips can still be great ways to see the backcountry and build your wilderness skills.

We work hard to accommodate anyone who wishes to volunteer. Groups are welcome as well as families. The work tends to be best suited for teens or older—people who can be fairly self-sufficient hikers/campers. Younger kids are welcome on day-long trips. You will be required to sign a volunteer agreement to ensure you are acting on behalf of the Forest Service. If you have any questions, contact us!

These projects are currently open for sign-up!:

National Trails Day at Suce Creek
Jun 1, 2019

Kick off hiking season by celebrating National Trails Day at Suce Creek with the ABWF! We’re partnering with the Yellowstone Ranger District, Livingston Bike Club, Bozeman Bike Club, and Park County Environmental Council for a massive volunteer effort to make this National Trails Day one to remember! We’ll focus primarily on the Wilderness section of the trail, brushing the corridor, pulling weeds, and installing drains where needed.

We will meet at the Yellowstone District Ranger Station at 8:30 and carpool to the Suce Creek Trailhead. Bring water, snacks and a lunch, and sunscreen! We will have gloves and tools.

Sign up!

Community Trails Day at Nichols Creek
Jun 8, 2019

Alright, Red Lodge! It’s time for another Community Trails Day! While we officially cut the ribbon on the multi-use Nichols Creek trail last summer, there is still work to be done: stumps need to be removed from the middle of the trail and sections of the trail need to be widened to accommodate mountain bikers and stock. As always, we will have a picnic to welcome summer and celebrate all of our hard work!

We will meet at the Red Lodge Mountain overflow parking at 8 am. Bring water, snacks, and sunscreen! We will have gloves and tools

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Passage Creek Falls Switchback Reconstruction
Jun 22, 2019

About two miles up the Passage Creek Falls trail, there are a couple crumbling switchbacks which we will help rebuild. We will create new corners with retaining wall and revamp the tread by bringing in fill. This will be a strenuous, but fun project!

Meet at the Passage Creek Falls trailhead at 8 am. Bring water, a lunch, and sunscreen! We will have gloves and tools.

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Trail Improvement at September Morn Lake
Jul 12, 2019 – Jul 16, 2019

Join the ABWF on a 5-day, four-night work trip at gorgeous September Morn Lake! From our campsite near the lake, we will day hike to the work site on the way towards Sundance Pass, brushing, digging drainage structures, and installing checks to combat erosion above the beloved Lake Fork Trail. We will haul a lot of fill on this project, so be prepared to work hard! It's a strenuous project. Elevation at Sept. Morn. is at treeline, 9500 ft.

While it is roughly 8 miles to September Morn Lake, the hike in is relatively moderate. Accordingly, we will assist you by passing off all of our heavy gear to the Beartooth Backcountry Horsemen at the Lake Fork trailhead, so volunteers will only need to carry a daypack. As always, delicious meals are provided.

September Morn panorama (by Abigail White)

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Weeds Warriors Weekend at Bassett Creek
Jul 20, 2019 – Jul 21, 2019

We have revisited this pretty little site a number of times previously, and there's always loads of houndstongue, knapweed, and toadflax to tackle. So help ABWF keep the weeds from winning! Join us for two days (and an overnight) above the Paradise Valley, just north of Gardiner. We will rid Bassett Creek of all the noxious weeds we can find in this Wilderness access area just off the Paradise Valley.

The hike in is three miles, which is steep and switchbacked for the first mile, but the valley above LaDuke Springs is lush and pretty. While we’d love to have you work both days and camp with us, we gladly welcome all you Weed Warriors who want to volunteer for a single day as well. We will provide meals for folks who camp overnight with us, and lemonade and snacks for people who come for the day.

Because houndstongue has nasty burrs, unfortunatelly you'll have to leave your furry friends at home, even if you just come for the day.

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Red Lodge Creek Plateau Trail Enhancement
Jul 26, 2019 – Jul 31, 2019

We're going back to the Red Lodge Creek Plateau in 2019! This time we're working on the western side of the plateau as the Senia Creek trail starts dropping down to Crow Lake. Join the ABWF on this 5-day, four-night work trip high up on the glorious Red Lodge Creek Plateau! While the hike into and out of camp is fairly steep, the work on this trip is actually more moderate in nature. We will install water bars and checks, grade, and brush towards Crow Lake.

We will pass off all of our heavy gear to the Beartooth Backcountry Horsemen, so volunteers will only need to carry a daypack. As always, we provide fantastic meals! Note: this campsite is NOT the same site as we camped in on the previous trips up Senia Creek. The elevation where we'll be working is around 9000, near treeline, so altitude is a factor.

Volunteers atop the Red Lodge Creek Plateau (by David Kallenbach)

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High School Volunteers--West Boulder Trail Clearing & Campout
Aug 2, 2019 – Aug 4, 2019

A great chance for a younger group of volunteers to get outside and hike, camp out, and do some cool service work that benefits the trail system in the A-B Wilderness. Open to anyone 15 to 18 years of age who is interested in helping saw out and clear a really beautiful section of trail along the W. Boulder River, southeast of Livingston (southwest of Big Timber). We will backpack into the Wilderness approximately six miles on Friday, set up camp, and then spend two days clearing this popular trail.

After a fire some years ago, the lodgepole pines have grown in by the thousands, constricting the trail. We will cut the smaller ones out with handsaws and team up to tackle the bigger ones that have fallen across the trail with crosscut saws.

The West Boulder Trail is relatively level all the way to the camp, so it's an easy backpack in. We welcome anyone of high school age who is interested in learning trail skills and who wants to go on a fun trip in a beautiful area!

Group of High School kids Backpacking up the W. Boulder (by D. Kallenbach)

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Turnpike Construction on The Beaten Path
Aug 8, 2019 – Aug 12, 2019

This is the start of the popular “Beaten Path” route from Cooke City to the East Rosebud. If you’ve hiked this trail, you know that the first section of the trail up to Kersey Lake is notoriously boggy. We will work on adding drainage structures and building framed, raised turnpikes through the muddy stretches. We will hike into work every day (up to 2 miles one-way); the altitude is around 7,500 feetand because constructing turnpikes is quite involved, this trip is fairly strenuous.

This our only cabin stay and front-country camping trips this season! Because each day we start out at the Chief Joseph/Clark’s Fork Trailhead, you can join us for a portion of this trip if you can’t make the full five days of work. Just make sure you are ready to hit the trail at 8 am! As always, tasty meals are provided.

Note: This trip takes place in the heart of grizzly country! We will have access to the historic Forest Service cabin which sleeps six people, and folks are welcome to sleep in their hard-sided vehicles. Tent camping is not allowed.

Building turnpike in the Kersey Lake area

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Thompson Lake Trail Reconstruction
Sep 6, 2019 – Sep 8, 2019

As many of you know, the trail to Thompson Lake is quite muddy in stretches. The turnpikes on the Thompson Lake trail are in need of some love! We will reinforce the existing structures, revitalize failing drains, and install new ones as needed and hopefully mitigate some of the perennial mud!

This is a 3-day, 2-night project with a backcountry camp established at Thompson Lake. Thompson Lake is 5 miles and 1600 feet from the trailhead. Again, we will hand off our heavy gear to the Backcountry Horsemen, so volunteers will only need to carry a light daypack. As always, scrumptious meals are provided for you.

Thompson Lake (by Jamie Clouatre)

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Trail Enhancement at Island & Mystic Lakes
Sep 12, 2019 – Sep 16, 2019

Join us for a week of brushing and drainage maintenance at one of the most popular spots in the Beartooths--stunningly beautiful Mystic and Island Lakes! We'll be working on widening and better establishing the trail on the north side of Island Lake just beyond Mystic Lake. There's plenty of good camping in the area where we'll establish our backcountry camp.

This is one of our more moderate trail projects. All trail work is strenuous, but this one should appeal to those who’d like a slightly less physical project. We will hand off our heaviest gear to the Forest Service packer, so volunteers will only need to carry a light daypack! As always, delicious meals are provided.

Looking downvalley at Island Lake with Star Lake in the foreground (by Devon Hildreth)

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