“The Front” is the name for the eastern part of the Rocky Mountains in Montana. It is best seen in the morning light and can be viewed from several places in the state, including Browning, Augusta, and Fairfield. The Front runs for more than fifty miles in northern and eastern directions and is one of the crown jewels of the Crown of the Continent ecosystem. The Front’s vast expanse is a haven for wildlife and travelers.
The Rocky Mountain Front stretches 460 miles to the north and 300 miles to the south. It begins in the upper Musselshell River valley near Harlowton, Montana. In the north, the Front runs parallel to the Wyoming-South Dakota border. This region is also home to grizzly bears, but bison are no longer abundant there. However, the Front remains an important part of the state’s landscape.
The Front’s greatest threat is the subdivision of large ranches. In addition to destroying vital habitat, this process fragments the landscape, impairing wildlife migration and decreasing wildlife populations. Grizzly bears inhabit huge ranges in the area and fragmenting these ranches will interfere with their privacy. Other wildlife that use the Front’s grasslands and mountain ranges include pronghorn, elk, and moose.
The Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex is a 1.5 million-acre wilderness spread across four National Forests. The eastern half of the Bob Marshall Wilderness is characterized by limestone escarpments, or “refs”. These are the remnants of ancient coral reefs. The Bob Marshall Chinese Wall and other rock faces are just some of the attractions here. You can also find rare species of animals in the region. And of course, the Bob Marshall Wilderness is a must-see for nature lovers.
Whether you’re interested in history, geology, or wildlife, eastern Montana has much to offer. Parts of the old travel byways are visible here, including the Nez Perce Trail, Wood Mountain Trail, Whoop-Up Trail, and Pony Express Route. The area is also rich with traces of early homesteaders. Many old buildings are now shelters for small animals. While the landscape is beautiful and varied, there’s always a way to find a unique spot to visit.
The Rocky Mountain Eastern Front contains a number of prominent tectonic features. It is characterized by a fold-and-thrust belt system, with sawtooth-shaped structures on the upper blocks of thrust faults. Thrust faults generally run northwest-southeast, and their propagation occurs from southwest to east. This landscape is characterized by a multitude of thin-skinned thrusts and imbricate thrust zones, and several other tectonic features.
The region is also known for its pristine lakes. Various natural lakes and reservoirs create an enchanting landscape for fishing, hiking, or wildlife viewing. The best area to enjoy both is Glacier National Park, with its stunning vistas. During your stay in Montana, don’t forget to try out the Highline Trail, one of the signature hiking trails in North America. Highline Trail runs from Logan Pass to Granite Park Chalet and continues for seven miles. The trail follows the Continental Divide, passing alpine landscape scenarios, glacier valleys, and pristine lakes.