June 9 – 13, 2021


This Class will include: horse and mule trail riding ~ mule packing ~ wilderness skills ~ stock management ~ food preparations and cooking ~ and backcountry ethics.


When the Wilderness Act of 1964 was passed into law by Congress, its intent was to preserve an enduring Wilderness for future generations. Essentially, a place set aside to preserve the natural character of a special landscape, not significantly altered by man, so that future generations can experience a wild and natural environment.

Wilderness was specifically designated to keep mechanized use limited to emergencies only. The only ways to access Wilderness is on foot, by horseback or floating. Using Stock in Backcountry and Wilderness requires specific skills. Our goal is to provide them to you.

BMWO Wilderness Training Center focuses only on “Equestrian” horse and mule use in the wilderness. Our “Hands On” classes are designed to build your confidence and teach horse owners, or future horse owners, how to trail ride, pack mules, safely camp, recreate responsibly in Wilderness and care for stock while in the remote backcountry or Wilderness areas.




CHECK OUT THIS FLYER: Mule Packing and Wilderness Skills Class Flyer 2021


Discounts available if you have taken a mule packing class from Smoke Elser and/or Jordan Knudsen.


Contact Us for Details


Would you like to spend your summer and fall riding horseback in the Bob Marshall Wilderness in Montana and get paid for this experience?

Explore the Mountains, rivers, and valleys on horseback in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. Meet people from all over the United States and the world. Fish in pristine rivers and streams. Sleep under the stars and enjoy the quiet solitude of Wilderness. And best of all get paid to do this?

Bob Marshall Wilderness Outfitters is a growing business and is seeking a wilderness “Camp Cook”.  We feel this position is one of the most important on the crew.  Experience is preferred, but we are willing to train the right person.  The knowledge, skills and abilities for this job include someone who has a desire to cook in a unique setting, excellent interpersonal communication, an outgoing personality, detailed oriented, a willingness to learn and be a team player.  Pay is dependent on experience.

For more information and to apply, go to BobMarshallWildernessOutfitters.com , click on the “Employment Opportunities” button or just contact us.

General George Washington who was the Commander in Chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, established the first “official” mounted regiment in 1776.  

The mounted Army deeply aided the westward movement and settlement of the west during the 1880’s.  The horse and the Army were synonymous.  Forts were built across the west as the frontier was settled.  

The Army or Cavalry was totally dependent on the horse until the 1930’s.   

Troops of the 9th Cavalry were stationed at the Regiment’s new home in rebuilt Camp Funston, Ft. Riley, KS, in May 1941.  

In the early 1930’s the Cavalry field manuals were rewritten. The last version that focused on horses was published in 1936. After that, the nature of the Cavalry changed, and the manuals depicted tactics for halftracks and armored cars.  

Beginning in 1942, the Army began the full decommission of horses and mules.  

The last mounted cavalry units were the 127th and 129th Cavalry Squadrons, activated late in WW II and inactivated by 1947.  

The last active cavalry post was Ft Riley, KS, where the Cavalry School was inactivated on 31 October 1946. By 1947, all Army equine training and educational programs for mounted troops had ended.  

A few small detachments remained for special events like parades and ceremonies.  

In today’s world environment, it has been discovered by Military Special Operations units (Army, Navy and Marines), that there remains a need for training in the use and packing of horses and mules.  We have been honored to aid in that training over the last few years.  Our goal is to continue to offer this specialized training.  

It’s the little things that can make a big difference.  Sleeping on our comfortable cots on summer roving trips, rather than pads on the ground, keeps you rested and energetic.  We are committed to providing you with a friendly, helpful and knowledgeable staff.  We take extra precautions for your safety and enjoyment.  Maybe most important is making your wilderness trip accomplish what you want.  We truly appreciate your business and look forward to making new friends.

We focus on offering our guests an enriched adventure vacation by focusing on a quality western wilderness experience. Our horses and mules are well trained and we will match your riding experience to the appropriate riding animal.  Our excellent equipment is well maintained and specially selected for your comfort and safety.  We have specially designed it to be light in weight, which requires fewer pack animals, to protect the wilderness.   Our staff is exceptional, well educated, friendly, customer-oriented and experienced.   We want you to “come as strangers, and leave as friends”.



Our friends and mentors (and previous owners of our business), Smoke Elser and his wife Thelma were recently featured in the 2011 Documentary of their life and 50 plus years as outfitters, the people they have taken into the Bob Marshall Wilderness and their love of the Wilderness.


In 2010, Smoke, Connie and Mack along with our friends Dan and Richard took a special trip into the Bob Marshall Wilderness to learn the history, lore and explore “lost” sites.  The PBS crew went along to capture the splendors, the stories and much more about the wilderness.  This gives a firsthand perspective of how we conduct our trips and how it feels to spend time in the Bob Marshall Wilderness.


You can watch the 1 hour PBS Documentary at the following link:


Bob Marshall (1901-1939) was a man of many talents.  The early forester, author, explorer, wilderness preservation pioneer, and Wilderness Society co-founder was an avid leader for the protection of wild lands and pristine landscapes.  Marshall died at the early age of 38 from heart failure.  In spite of his heart condition, he logged many hikes of up to 40 miles in a single 24 hour day.  Before he died he was able to lay out the preliminary plans for the wilderness area.

In 1941, not long after Marshall died, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Henry A. Wallace, designated the 950,000 acres surrounding the South Fork of the Flathead(established 1931), the Sun River (established 1935), and the Pentagon (established 1933) as Primitive Areas (later to become Congressionally designated Wilderness Areas).  To honor the memory of the man who fought so valiantly to protect the area, it was officially named the Bob Marshall Wilderness on September 3, 1964, when Congress passed the “The Wilderness Act”. The “Bob” has received constant protection under this Act ever since and is a part of the National Wilderness Preservation System.

The shear diversity and beauty of the wildlife and landscape for a start.  The spine of the Continental Divide runs from almost 60 miles within the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex which is made up of the Great Bear, Scapegoat and the Bob Marshall Wilderness areas.  The “Lewis Overthrust” is a huge escarpment d called the Chinese wall which extends for over 20 miles, and provides breathtaking scenery.  Elevations in the complex range from 4000 to just over 9000 feet in elevation.

The rivers and streams of the Bob are nothing les that spectacular.  To the north are the Middle and South Forks of the Flathead River.  To the east are the North, West and South Forks of the Sun River.  On the southern end of the complex is the North Fork of the Blackfoot River.  Smaller streams and tributaries feed these major drainages throughout the “Bob”.  Native wild Bull Trout and Cutthroat trout, along with Rainbow Trout make this an angler’s paradise.

No surprise is the native wildlife that is still found in this critical habitat.  The grizzly bear still roams the mountains here as they have for eons of time and shares the landscape with the wolf.  The Canada Lynx and Bobcat make their home here as well.  High in the mountains are the Big Horn Sheep and Mountain Goats along with the wolverine and Pika.  Spread throughout the “Bob” is Whitetail and Mule Deer.  Elk and Moose are abundant throughout the area.  Many forest carnivores such as Fisher, Marten and Weasels live in the timbered mountain slopes.  The birds of the “Bob” to name a few include Eagles, falcons, hawks and owls.  Grouse, woodpeckers, Steller’s Jays, Clark’s Nutcrackers, nuthatches, chickadees and many more can also be observed.

But what is the best of all is the big beautiful sky and the awesome starry nights. You really want to see all of this!

Contact us using our electronic form or call us at 406-644-7889 today!

While almost every trip we take has great fishing opportunities, we have scheduled trips that focus on trophy wilderness fishing.  We will be fishing waters that are teaming with trout and produce catch rates that will keep you busy all day!  As Smoke Elser says, you have to hide behind a tree just to put your fly or lure on.  The trips for 2018 leave on August 9, 2018 and August 20, 2018.

The August 9th trip is an 8 day 7 night fishing adventure to a blue ribbon fishing destination. August 20 is a 7 day, 6 night fishing adventure to an excellent fishing destination.

Don’t delay, these trips fill fast. If interested contact us using our electronic form or call us at 406-644-7889.

Bob Marshall Wilderness Outfitters - Missoula, Montana