Approximately 125 miles up the Fort Peck Reservoir and the Missouri River from the Fort Peck Dam, you'll find the UL Bend Wilderness. Situated within the UL Bend and Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuges, this area is characterized by breaks (badlands), steep-sided forested coulees, prairie grasslands, cottonwood river bottoms, and an abundance of wildlife: elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer, pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, coyotes, badgers, bobcats, Canada geese, grouse, and a wide variety of raptors. Prairie dogs have established "towns" here, complex systems of interconnected burrows that cover thousands of acres. Tyrannosaurus rex once hunted these grounds, and in many areas of the Wilderness little has changed since those forgotten days.
Some of the remotest portions of this area are seldom seen and virtually unexplored by humans. Foremost among those portions is the UL Bend Wilderness. You'll find UL Bend north of a tight U-shaped bend in the Missouri River. The wilderness is divided into four units: three small northern units and the large southern unit that borders the river. The area is almost entirely open grassland and sagebrush, without water and exposed to the whimsy of prairie winds. There are no maintained trails, but hiking and camping within the wilderness are unrestricted, scenic, and rugged. Horses, hunting, and fishing (in season) are allowed.
Many paddlers on the Missouri continue down past the Wilderness on placid waters. High winds may make open areas of water dangerous. You'll be paddling in the long-gone wake of Lewis and Clark.
Leave No Trace
How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the UL Bend Wilderness.
Digital and paper maps are critical tools for wilderness visitors. Online maps can help you plan and prepare for your visit ahead of time. You can also carry digital maps with you on your GPS unit or other handheld GPS device. Having a paper map with you in the backcountry, as well as solid orienteering skills, however, ensures that you can still route-find in the event that your electronic device fails.
Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited in all wilderness areas.
This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters.
(No official title, designates Fish and Wildlife Service wildernesses) - Public law 94-557 (10/19/1976) To designate certain lands as components of the National Wilderness Preservation System and to provide designation for certain lands as Wilderness Study Areas