Is navigating the MT406 difficult?
The majority of the Montana Trail 406 is straight forward and easy to navigate as the majority is on established trails. However, there are sections of the MT406 that require advanced navigation skills. You can learn more about each section of trail, by studying the section maps, and reading the section descriptions. Generally speaking, the navigation challenges on the MT406 should not to be taken lightly; they require more skill than is needed to follow the longer-established National Scenic Trails (or NSTs).
As a new route, the MT406 is still being developed. There are sections that are unmarked, receiving light use, and may not have been recently maintained in some remote areas. Be aware that in some locations, the route of the MT406 requires bushwhacking through dense forest, following climber’s scrambling routes, and sometimes follows networks of unsigned and confusing forest roads.
Before you head out on the MT406, prepare for your trip using the resources on our website and by mastering navigation skills before you go. The MT406 Association highly recommends you carry a backup navigation method to help ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable trail experience. (Should we recommend that they reach out to local land managers to check trail conditions and any issues not announced?)
We are working to make the MT406 easier to navigate by improving the quality of information presented on this website and through working with local land managers on the installation of new trail signage where warranted. It is also very important to us to preserve the sense of adventure that was crucial to the vision of the Montana Trail 406. We are confident we can achieve this by protecting the wild character of the trail and the significant challenges that it presents. For now, as a thru-hike, the MT406 appeals to experienced outdoors people looking to test advanced skills as they immerse themselves in the Big Wild of Montana.