HELENA — The Montana Wilderness Association is celebrating its 51st season of Wilderness Walks this summer. The program offers nearly 150 guided day hikes, backpacking adventures, field trips and trail maintenance projects across some of the state’s most magnificent backcountry, all free of charge.

In 1962, MWA founders Ken and Florence Baldwin led 40 hikers on the first Wilderness Walk along a trail to Table Mountain in the Spanish Peaks. By taking people to a special place in need of protection, the Baldwins hoped to build grassroots support for wilderness.

The Wilderness Walks program continues to offer hikers of all ages and experience levels an opportunity to participate in a traditional recreation opportunity while enjoying Montana’s quiet beauty and remaining wild places.

All outings are open to the public, but participants must make reservations by contacting the hike leader. For more information, visit wildmontana.org/walks or call the MWA office in Helena at (406) 443-7350.

New 2013 Wilderness Walks:

Family friendly walks:

New this year are walks designed for families with young children, which will introduce young people of all ages to the joys of exploring Montana’s wild lands.

Summer of Lee:

This summer, MWA is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Lee Metcalf Wilderness. Five hikes are meant to teach participants about Sen. Lee Metcalf’s legacy of protecting Montana’s wild lands, and cultivate appreciation for the 259,000-acre Wilderness area.

CDT Montana

CDT Montana, MWA’s volunteer trail stewardship program, is helping complete the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail in 10 projects scheduled for the public this summer.