Lee Metcalf Wilderness
Guide

Introduction

If you find yourself in Montana, Lee Metcalf Wilderness is a must-see. It is located in Cameron, Montana, just southwest of Big Sky. It is made up of four parcels and has been since the early 1980s. These areas include the Bear Trap Canyon unit, Taylor-Hilgard unit, Spanish Peaks unit, and Monument Mountains unit.

This wilderness takes up over a quarter of a million acres of beautiful land throughout the state. Lee Metcalf Wilderness is maintained by the Bureau of Land Management. It was named after a Montana congressman and is nestled rather close to Yellowstone National Park. When visiting Lee Metcalf Wilderness you can enjoy a number of fun activities including white water rafting, hiking, wildlife viewing, and more.

Some animals you may see in the area are elk and bears. Many people enjoy renting an RV or campervan and camping in one of the several nearby campgrounds that are also managed by the Bureau of Land Management. This area of Montana is a great place to camp for several reasons, but mainly because the stars shine brightly around the mountain tops in the evening hours.

RV Rentals in Lee Metcalf Wilderness

Transportation

Driving

Because Lee Metcalf Wilderness area takes up so many acres, there is an endless amount of ways to get there. There are over 300 miles of trails that allow access to the wilderness. You can also reach Lee Metcalf by using one of the 28 trailheads available.

If you're driving from the west, you will use U.S. Highway 287 south. This will lead you towards Yellowstone and there are road signs to guide you straight to Lee Metcalf Wilderness. From the east, you can easily take U.S. Highway 191 to get there. The roads surrounding the wilderness are paved and relatively easy to drive on.

Due to the surrounding mountains, you may have to be careful of a couple of things. First, be aware of the weather. There may be road closures that will prevent you from getting into the Wilderness. Be sure to check online beforehand to avoid any disappointment. Also, some of the roads wind a bit and can be difficult for larger vehicles. Take it slow and you shouldn't have any issues.

Parking

Public Transportation

Campgrounds and parking in Lee Metcalf Wilderness

Campsites in Lee Metcalf Wilderness

First-come first-served

Red Cliff Campground

Red Cliff Campground is a breathtaking place to stay when visiting Lee Metcalf Wilderness. It is located less than 15 miles northeast of Saint George, Utah. When visiting here, you'll be able to choose one of 11 campsites.

All of the campsites at Red Cliff are surrounded by trees, making it a great place to cool off in the summer. Vehicles must be less than 12 feet in length, as well as width. This campground doesn't provide hookups for RVs, but there are amenities such as potable water and vault toilets available.

Campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis, without there ever being reservations. Red Cliffs allows camping 365 days a year. The campground is nestled within red and orange canyon walls and towering cliffs. You'll also get to enjoy the sounds of calm creek waters that can easily lull anyone to sleep after a long day visiting the Lee Metcalf Wilderness.

Buffalo Horn Campground

Another camping option available for RVs and tents is Buffalo Horn Campground. This campground is located just off of Highway 191 within the mountains of Big Sky, Montana. It sits at an elevation of just under 7,000 feet and you will be surrounded by Burnt Top Mountain and Grouse Mountain.

People enjoy this campground if they're looking for peace and quiet while being surrounded by breathtaking views. You will also have easy access to the Buffalo Horn Trailhead if you enjoy hiking and mountain climbing. Because this campground is more primitive, there isn't a maximum trailer or RV size, but less than 30 feet is recommended.

This is a dry campground, so be sure to bring plenty of your own water. Due to the location, this campground is perfect to relax and enjoy a night of stargazing during your visit. Lastly, Buffalo Horn campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Tom Miner Campground

Tom Miner Campground is a primitive campground available for visitors of Lee Metcalf Wilderness. There you'll find restrooms, tap water, and even water hookups for RVs. This campground is available on a first-come, first-served basis all year round unless there is severe weather or road closures.

There are 16 campsites available, along with two extra group campsites. Each of these campsites has a picnic table and a fire ring available for your convenience. There are also handicap accessible facilities, along with food boxes and vault toilets. RVs and trailers should be less than 42 feet according to the local access roads.

It may be important to note that there is no firewood or trash service provided. There is a limit of camping 16 days out of every 30 days. When staying here you'll be able to enjoy a hike through the petrified forest, fishing, wildlife viewing, and a few water activities.

Seasonal activities in Lee Metcalf Wilderness

In-Season

Hunting

One of the more popular activities people enjoy while visiting Lee Metcalf Wilderness is hunting. You will need a hunting permit before you start hunting, but these are easily purchased online. Permits are required for both location and visiting hunters.

When it comes to the type of game in the area, you may see ducks, rabbits, grouse, elk, turkey, and antelope. If you do decide to hunt, do not do so in any national park.

Hiking

If you're looking to stretch your legs a bit while visiting Lee Metcalf Wilderness, there are plenty of hiking trails available. The terrain is natural and varies in difficulty. There are some easier trails available for those looking for a casual walk through the woods.

Hiking is a great way to get in a workout and explore the nature surrounding you at the Wilderness. For your own safety, be sure to wear the proper equipment such as hiking boots.

Paddling

Do you enjoy water sports? Whether you enjoy boating, kayaking, canoeing, or white water rafting, water sports are popular for visitors of Lee Metcalf Wilderness. There aren't any rental places nearby to get watercraft, so you must bring your own.

This is a fun and thrilling way to get a unique view of the Wilderness during your visit. Be sure to wear life jackets and headgear if white water rafting, as the rapids can pick up quickly without warning.

Off-Season

Photography

Montana is easily one of the most breathtaking states in America, thanks to its towering mountains and dense forests. It doesn't matter if you enjoy taking photos with the camera on your smartphone or an expensive professional camera.

There are beautiful views that make perfect backdrops all throughout Lee Metcalf Wilderness. You can take photos of the landscapes, wild animals, or whoever you’re camping with. This is a great way to create a long-lasting memory of an amazing trip.

Wildlife Viewing

If you're visiting Lee Metcalf Wilderness, chances are you enjoy spending time outdoors. If you do, wildlife viewing is a fun and relaxing activity that you can enjoy during the off-season. There are a ton of amazing animals roaming around in their natural habitat.

You may see large animals such as deer, wild turkey, elk, and foxes. There are also animals such as reptiles, frogs, and birds. Whether you're on a solo vacation or taking a trip with the whole family, this is an activity that everyone will enjoy.

Picnicking

You can't enjoy the great outdoors without having the right fuel to get you through all of the activities you have on your itinerary. Picnicking in Lee Metcalf Wilderness is a great way to do just that.

You will be surrounded by mountains and forests which make for a pretty great area to enjoy a nutritious meal. It is important to note that if you do decide to have a picnic, make sure you clean up all of your trash to help preserve the wilderness.

Find the perfect campsite.