Located along the Madison River in southwest Montana, the Bear Trap Canyon Wilderness is the Bureau of Land Management's first designated wilderness area including six thousand acres of wilderness on the Madison River. This recreation area with boat access from the south end offers rafters a nine mile float trip through whitewater and a scenic canyon with 2,000 foot cliffs; featuring the famous Class V 'Kitchen Sink' rapid as the climax of the trip. Whitewater skills must be honed. Permits not required for private groups, but registration is necessary at the launch. Commercial floats available. Trail Creek Access Recreational Area located at the head of the canyon is the first fishing, and picnicking area on the Madison built with the handicapped in mind. A hiking trail follows the river the length of the canyon but cannot be accessed from the south end. The 9-mile Bear Trap National Recreation Trail at the north end of the canyon provides visitors outstanding hiking, backpacking, and horseback riding into the canyon. The site provides a boat launch, parking, and restrooms. Camping is primitive. Trout fishing is also popular along this section of the river.
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Bear Trap Canyon Wilderness is located 15 miles north east of Ennis via State Highway 287 to McAlister, Montana where the gravel road is taken to the south access. To reach the north access go 8 miles east of Norris on Montana Highway 287 and 3 miles south of Red Mountain Campground via the gravel road.
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