West Fork Madison

4/5 (7 reviews)
Cameron, Montana (Madison County)
Last Updated: 09/18/2022
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Trail Information

Highlights

West Fork Madison is located in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, the largest of the national forests in Montana covering 3.35 million acres. This trail is less than an hours drive from Ennis or West Yellowstone, and just under 2 hours from Big Sky Montana. This trail takes you alongside the Madison River until Waypoint 6. The road turns and follows the West Fork Madison River to the end of the trail for the next 8 miles through hills, forest, and surrounding mountain views. If looking for a campsite near the river, this is the trail to check out. The views are stunning. Willows line the river and stream banks, turning yellow and gold before the trees in mid to late August, the first reminder that fall is just around the corner. The river tumble can be heard almost everywhere along this trail. Wild raspberries and strawberries are scattered through the trail and wildflowers are everywhere. The trail is pretty popular, so be ready for the occasional traffic.

Trail Difficulty and Assessment

Trail Navigation

Trail Reviews

4/5 (7 reviews)
Cory W
Official Crew
26500
Status: Open
Rated 4/5
Visited: 06/11/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Some parts of the road are certainly more rutted and potholed than last year, but all in all still a fun drive and great scenery. The river is flowing high above its banks and carving new paths through the trees with a lot more downed tress across the water than usual.
Trail Review: West Fork Madison - Cory W
Trail Review: West Fork Madison - Cory W
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Cory W
Official Crew
26500
Status: Open
Rated 4/5
Visited: 09/14/2021

Now open after the Goose Fire Closure, we checked out a few of the affected trails. The only notable change on West Fork Madison is the bridge's closure to the restroom and campsite at Waypoint 28. We were around a week to early to see the vibrant fall colors fill the river bed.
Trail Review: West Fork Madison - Cory W
Trail Review: West Fork Madison - Cory W
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Cory W
Official Crew
26500
Status: Open
Rated 4/5
Visited: 09/08/2021

The Goose Fire area closure order was rescinded on October 7th, allowing the reopening of the following trails: Cliff Lake Bench Conklin Lake East Bench Elk Lake Jackknife Jackpine Gulch South Bench West Fork Madison past Jackpine Gulch Road The condition of the affected trails is unknown and will be updated soon.
Cory W
Official Crew
26500
Status: Open
Visited: 07/17/2021

West Fork Madison has been temporarily closed starting at Waypoint 28 due to the Goose Fire. More info on the closure can be found with the following link. Goose Fire Info
Trail Review: West Fork Madison - Cory W
Status: Open
Rated 4/5
Visited: 09/22/2020

*NOTE - I probably shouldn't post a review as I was only on the trail from Waypoints 1 thru 12, or roughly 20% or so of the total trail. While I most certainly missed some of the best parts, I did want to mention this trail was a well maintained road and a reliable way to connect off HWY 287 into the many splinter trails surrounding Gravelly Range. I started this day by exiting 287 and crossing the Madison River at Waypoint 1, drove a few short miles up to Waypoint 12 where I joined up with Standard Creek. Snapped a quick pic of Civil Twilight here which I have shared...
Trail Review: West Fork Madison - Matt Charles

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