Montana Jeep Badge of Honor: Blacktail Wild Bill Trail (Flathead National Forest)


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Wow. Can't wait to do it. In a few years maybe....Hope to make it to Montana in '20 or '21
 
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EJD

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Nice road in Blacktail Wild Bill Trail.....or as the sign in the picture said "Lacktail"
Cool seeing the Buffalo.
Yeah the trail has 3 different legs and I only did one leg that day, cool thing about the BT/WB Trail is that the local 4x4 club that maintains it works in a partnership with the USFS and they have basically given the club the keys to the gates on those 3 legs, so the trail will be an ever-growing longer trail in the future. Each leg of the trail has completely different obstacles and is a unique experience.

The leg I was on that day was loaded with deep dips in the trail, constant break-overs and horizontal log crossings. You did make it to a cool little rock outcrop at some point to get a good view of the Flathead Lake but it was so smokey from Glacier National Park being on fire at that time. I will do an update when I go back this year and explore some of the other legs of the trail.

The National Bison Range is also a really cool time as well, there is a 19 mile off road trail that runs through this massive protected land set up by President Roosevelt and its full of Bison, Elk, Whitetail/Mule Deer, Pronghorn Antelope, Bighorn Sheep, and of course Griz/Black Bear. Your also get the best perspective of the Mission Mountains (which are stunning). Not a bad safari, without the crowds of Yellowstone.

Also got my Bagde of Honor since then too.

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Mrgreg66

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Hey EJD, I'm in the Coeur d'alene area and thinking of a day trip to the blacktail wild bill trail later this year. Is it open all the time, or do I need to contact anyone for access?
 
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EJD

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Hey EJD, I'm in the Coeur d'alene area and thinking of a day trip to the blacktail wild bill trail later this year. Is it open all the time, or do I need to contact anyone for access?
Well hey neighbor!

The trailhead is about 15 miles deep into the forest from the main road, so first off snow will be an issue from the elevation and that will have to melt down quite a bit so realistically Summer/Fall will be the best time of year. You will not need to contact anyone to access any of the 3 legs of the trail so its fair game at this point. Though its maintained by the USFS, and a local Jeep club.

It would be well worth it to potentially camp a night, though you could do it in a day if you wanted to. Also Glacier National Park is a half hour - an hour away and is incredible if you've never been. I'de be down for a meet and wheel too if you want company on the trail.
 
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So as I was overlanding a bit last week I passed through the national forest with the Blacktail - Wild Bill trail and decided to run the other legs of the trail that I had not been on previously. I tracked gpx data the whole way too for anyone interested.

But yeah there were some insane obstacles on this that I just could touch at all cause i'm not built for that type of stuff, but I tried to take pictures of some of them for your viewing enjoyment. I ran into 2 other TJ's and a CJ that were all rock crawlers and chatted them up a bit about the trail.

One of them pointed me in the direction of an amazing dispersed camp site that was absolutely incredible. Top of a mountain type site, overlooking 2 beautiful lakes and just a great view of the vast forest we were surrounded by. Another little gem if anyone is interested, contact me.

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Its amazing how during such a touristy time of year in NW Montana where every campground is packed beyond capacity, if you look for it, you can find a spot like this and have it all to yourself. :p

If anyone is ever in the area and would like to location of this camp site, let me know. Its big enough for multiple vehicles and very secluded. You would only need 4wd to make it there.
 

Mrgreg66

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So as I was overlanding a bit last week I passed through the national forest with the Blacktail - Wild Bill trail and decided to run the other legs of the trail that I had not been on previously. I tracked gpx data the whole way too for anyone interested.

But yeah there were some insane obstacles on this that I just could touch at all cause i'm not built for that type of stuff, but I tried to take pictures of some of them for your viewing enjoyment. I ran into 2 other TJ's and a CJ that were all rock crawlers and chatted them up a bit about the trail.

One of them pointed me in the direction of an amazing dispersed camp site that was absolutely incredible. Top of a mountain type site, overlooking 2 beautiful lakes and just a great view of the vast forest we were surrounded by. Another little gem if anyone is interested, contact me.

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Its amazing how during such a touristy time of year in NW Montana where every campground is packed beyond capacity, if you look for it, you can find a spot like this and have it all to yourself. :p

If anyone is ever in the area and would like to location of this camp site, let me know. Its big enough for multiple vehicles and very secluded. You would only need 4wd to make it there.
That's awesome! I just spent a few days last week with the crowds at Glacier, but heading out in a few hours to do part of the old Elk City Wagon Road in Idaho and then on through the Magruder Corridor to Darby Montana by Sunday.
 
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JMT

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@EJD. Man, that is gorgeous area. We head out on our move to Spokane on Monday. I can’t wait to get settled in and hit some trails. I’ll definitely be hitting you up when I can get some time away to head to MT so you can show me the ropes. Camping at that location would be so serene. Unreal really. Thanks for sharing.

@Mrgreg66 I’d love to come over to Hayden area. I’ve heard there are some trails there, maybe even some rocks. I know my profile says TX, but I’m moving to Spokane on Monday, literally, so we are in the throes of boxes and chaos. But can’t wait to be there this time of year and do some exploring. Let me know if you want to hit some trails. It may take me a few weeks to get settled in, but there could be a few days when I could get away. My new job doesn’t start till Sept 1.
 
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Mrgreg66

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@EJD. Man, that is gorgeous area. We head out on our move to Spokane on Monday. I can’t wait to get settled in and hit some trails. I’ll definitely be hitting you up when I can get some time away to head to MT so you can show me the ropes. Camping at that location would be so serene. Unreal really. Thanks for sharing.

@Mrgreg66 I’d love to come over to Hayden area. I’ve heard there are some trails there, maybe even some rocks. I know my profile says TX, but I’m moving to Spokane on Monday, literally, so we are in the throes of boxes and chaos. But can’t wait to be there this time of year and do some exploring. Let me know if you want to hit some trails. It may take me a few weeks to get settled in, but there could be a few days when I could get away. My new job doesn’t start till Sept 1.
Let me know when you are settled in. I'm always up for a ride. Lots of Forrest roads around here to explore.
 
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EJD

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That's awesome! I just spent a few days last week with the crowds at Glacier, but heading out in a few hours to do part of the old Elk City Wagon Road in Idaho and then on through the Magruder Corridor to Darby Montana by Sunday.
I was at Glacier a few weeks back and i've never see it so packed in my life. Couldn't even pull into the Logan Pass visitors center parking lot. But then I did see my first Grizzly Bears so it had its trade-offs. Did you see any good wildlife? I've been looking for someone to roll through the Magruder Corridor with, we should definitely make a point to meet up with @JMT when he settles in and have a nice little NW crew.

@EJD. Man, that is gorgeous area. We head out on our move to Spokane on Monday. I can’t wait to get settled in and hit some trails. I’ll definitely be hitting you up when I can get some time away to head to MT so you can show me the ropes. Camping at that location would be so serene. Unreal really. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks! I could not believe it myself, it was an adventure getting there too. I would love for you and yours to make it over to MT sometime, be happy to show you guys around a little or we meet in the middle of the ID panhandle somewhere and check out something new! Safe travels by the way, we'll talk more when you get up this way.
 
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Mrgreg66

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I was at Glacier a few weeks back and i've never see it so packed in my life. Couldn't even pull into the Logan Pass visitors center parking lot. But then I did see my first Grizzly Bears so it had its trade-offs. Did you see any good wildlife? I've been looking for someone to roll through the Magruder Corridor with, we should definitely make a point to meet up with @JMT when he settles in and have a nice little NW crew.


Thanks! I could not believe it myself, it was an adventure getting there too. I would love for you and yours to make it over to MT sometime, be happy to show you guys around a little or we meet in the middle of the ID panhandle somewhere and check out something new! Safe travels by the way, we'll talk more when you get up this way.
Saw a grizzly, 2 black bears (mama & cub) and a mountain goat.

I would like to check out that camping site you discovered.

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EJD

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Saw a grizzly, 2 black bears (mama & cub) and a mountain goat.

I would like to check out that camping site you discovered.

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Nice! I hope you got some good canoeing in too?

Like I said before, anytime your in the area looking to camp and or Jeep around a bit, let me know and I can give/show you the campsite anytime. I work a 7-on/7-off schedule at the hospital so I have a week off every other week.
 
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riptidembp

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So as I was overlanding a bit last week I passed through the national forest with the Blacktail - Wild Bill trail and decided to run the other legs of the trail that I had not been on previously. I tracked gpx data the whole way too for anyone interested.

But yeah there were some insane obstacles on this that I just could touch at all cause i'm not built for that type of stuff, but I tried to take pictures of some of them for your viewing enjoyment. I ran into 2 other TJ's and a CJ that were all rock crawlers and chatted them up a bit about the trail.

One of them pointed me in the direction of an amazing dispersed camp site that was absolutely incredible. Top of a mountain type site, overlooking 2 beautiful lakes and just a great view of the vast forest we were surrounded by. Another little gem if anyone is interested, contact me.
Looks like an awesome trip that I can't wait to take on next month. What was your moving time for the trail system?
 
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HEY! Happy to help, first lemme say that driving all the way from CA to MT for this trail is pretty great, I hope it doesn't disappoint. One thing I wished I had prior to running the trail was this trail map (attached) as it does not exist anywhere online, and is only found at 3 locations on the trail itself, so hopefully that helps out a lot. ;)

The moving time is subjective because there was plenty of obstacles that I could not take on with my TJ on 31's w/1" of lift. You may have much better clearance and bigger tires so you would potentially be able to try more obstacles. I would say running all three legs of the trail was probably a 4-8 hour day depending on what you bypass and what you don't. It may also depend on the weather too, on the day I was there we encountered hail, fog, rain, then blazing heat and full sun later on. I also have a killer campsite if your planning on spending the night!

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So the Blacktail - Wild Bill trail consists of 3 legs which are in "orange" on the map here. They are best described as a series of modified forest roads that are maintained by local Jeep clubs. The 3 legs all meet at something called "Eagle Junction".

Blacktail (917): This is the main starting point for just about everyone coming up route 93 alongside the Flathead Lake. This is the way you would be going coming from the south. This starts off mellow until you get to a spot with a new trail sign which reads "Original Blacktail OHV", if you take that be prepared for what seems like endless hill dips with constant flexy break-overs.

Upper Dayton Cr (918): Is a big more technical with some huge tires buried, more rock shelves, and log crossings. You will end up driving 917 into 918 and driving the reverse way down it towards the trailhead most likely. When you end this leg at the trailhead, you will take other forest roads north towards "Kila" to the last leg of the trail. (Unless for fun you wanted to take it back to Eagle Junction).

Wild Bill (919): I would say this is the hardest leg, some of the more difficult obstacles are along this route. I tried to take some pictures of the obstacles along this route but there were just too many. There is a "Playground" on this leg, also a mud pit, along with some good rocky sections, and tire gardens. This you will run back up to Eagle Junction then find your campsite for the night.
 
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EJD

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Update: I did just get my NEW Gen2 Bagde of Honor for this trail! This new one has a much more low-profile look for if your not about chrome like the previous Gen1 badges. These new ones are a 2-piece design and have the option to be a badge, or a dog tag!

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