What is the best time to start a thru-hike of the Montana Trail 406?
The 1,700-mile MT406 has an west – east orientation. This creates a narrow weather window compared to other trails with a south-north orientations. The best weather for long-distance trips on the MT406 generally occurs between mid-June and mid-September. Trails are typically snow free from all but the highest elevation areas by mid-July. However, a mid-May start is possible by starting your journey in Fort Benton on the 149-mile section of the Wild and Scenic Missouri River when the river is running high, then flipping back to Fort Benton to continue your journey westbound. This provides for completing the eastern prairie sections of the trail while spring temperatures are mild and more water sources are more available.