Key information: Chinese Wall
- The Chinese Wall is a 300m high escarpment, cutting a dramatic line through the arresting landscape of Montana's Bob Marshall Wilderness.
- This million-acre area is one of the last great, untamed wildernesses of the United States; and the wall is one of its most striking geological features.
- A six day loop circumnavigates the 35km long wall, heading deep into the wilderness and incorporating an outstanding trail at its base.
- Walking in the Bob can be tough, and given the lack of access roads you will often have to be self-sufficient. Come prepared to deal with any difficulties, and be aware of and sensible about wildlife and weather.
- Walkopedia rating82
- Natural interest17
- Human interest0
- Negative points0
- Total rating82
- Length: 97km
- 5-7 days (plus side trips)
- Maximum Altitude: 2,316m
- Level of Difficulty: Strenuous
Surrounded by fantastic geological formations, the hike to the Wall is fascinating and charismatic.
This 300m high, 35km long escarpment cuts a dramatic line through the arresting landscape of The Bob Marshall Wilderness in Montana, one of the last great, untamed wildernesses of the United States. View the Chinese Wall it in its full splendour on an outstanding six day hike, which heads deep into the wilderness to circumnavigate the vast cliff.
The main loop begins and ends at the Indian Point Meadows trailhead. However, The Bob's status as a wilderness means that the only traffic here is on foot or horseback, and those wanting to hike the Chinese Wall are advised to devote around 6 days to doing so, as they must walk 20 miles or so through wilderness to reach Indian Point Meadows. Most set out from the Benchmark trailhead, 50km from Augusta, which has several campgrounds in the immediate vicinity.
Crossing the Continental Divide at either end of the wall, this hike incorporates a stunning high-level trail at its base. Running along the Sun River Trail, with the Lewis and Clark National Forest on one side and the Bob Marshall Wilderness on the other, this section of the hike is frequently muddy, but takes you through meadows of wildflowers and offers attractive campsite options.
More fir and meadows lie along the trail to the wall itself. This area can get damp, muddy and churned-up quickly, and it is only when you enter the no-camping zone that you reach consistently dry walking. The trail's watery theme continues, however, with deep pools, waterfalls and creeks, including the impressive natural rock bridge at Needle Falls.
Whilst the gradient is relatively unchallenging, the walk still requires a reasonable level of fitness and preparation. In addition, The Bob's isolation is such that you will need to come fully prepared to deal with anything from bears to medical emergencies.
The Continental Divide Trail runs beneath the Chinese Wall, cutting below the Divide into the Eastern Valleys.
For more information and photos, including detailed practical information and some warnings, see our Bob Marshall Wilderness walk page.
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Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.
Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.
Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.
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