Switch Back Base Camp Trip


Capacity and duration
Capacity of 1 person
Duration of 7 Day

About trip
“This is a great trip for those who want a more comfortable camp with less trail moves. It also works well for a group who have different interests. Fishing, hiking and rides all from the same location”


Fly fishing on the Middle Fk of the Flathead River. Native West slope Cutthroat Trout. Numerous hikes of various levels. Day riding excursions. Tilobite Lakes, Winter Points and Schaffer Meadow are popular. Relaxing, comfortable camp atmosphere. We will have a large cook tent set with table and chairs for dining. This tent will be warm and cozy with stoves for cool mornings or inclement weather. We also use larger guest tents at this camp that accommodate cots we furnish for your comfort.

Day 1 After breakfast we will load the last of the gear and drive a short distance to the West Fk Teton Trailhead where the stock will be. We depart up the west fk for 6 miles to Teton Pass on the Continental Divide. We descend down into Bowl Cr for about 7 miles and camp for the night at Basin Cr. 13 trail miles and 4.5 hours of riding time.

Day 2 We load up and continue on down Bowl Cr to the Middle Fk Flathead. This country was burned heavily in 2007. At the Goose Berry Guard Cabin we leave the burn and make the last 4 miles to our camp on Switchback Cr. 11 river grade trail miles and about 4 hours.

Day 3 thru 5 Any of the activities listed above.

Day 6 We reverse the trip back to the Basin Cr camp.

Day 7 Return out to the West Fk of the Teton and back to the lodge.

Note: If the group prefers they may remain an extra day at the switchback camp and make the 24 mile ride out to the west fk trailhead in one day. This is about 8.5 hours of riding time.

Guests depart midmorning the next day.

A few important notes:

All dates given on trip itineraries are for the actual trip departure and return dates. You will need to arrive at the 7 lazy P lodge no later than the afternoon prior to the date of your trip departure. Guests may leave the lodge mid morning the day after your trip. In other words, an 8 day pack trip will require a 10 day time commitment. So you will need to make your travel arrangements accordingly. The closest air service is to Great Falls MT which is about 80 miles from the lodge. We provide complimentary airport pickup and return from Great Falls. We may ask guests to be a little patient and flexible as often times there is more than one group arriving at different times through out the day and it helps us out if we can make one pick-up. All lodging and meals the night prior to and after your trip are included in the price of your trip. We have 5 guest cabins of various configurations to accommodate singles, couples, families, or small groups of friends. Meals are served in the lodge and guests are free to relax in the lodge or make their way up to the corral to get introduced to some of the horses and mules. The place will be alive with activity as meals are prepared and the crew is busy assembling gear for the trip. The trips can take a maximum of 10 guests. There is typically 5 crew along: 2 packers with the mule strings, a wilderness chef, the trip leader who rides with the guests, and a 5th wheel who also rides with the guests and helps out where ever needed in camp and on the trail. Camp will consist of a large kitchen fly with a complete kitchen to prepare incredible meals. Guests are provided with high quality tents that comfortably sleep two adults, single guests may be issued slightly smaller tents. There is a latrine tent set up at each campsite and the opportunity for a shower is available on layover days. Setting up and taking down the camp and putting the whole thing on the backs of mules is really an incredible task that is handled efficiently by the experienced crew. It is important for guests to be ready on moving days so as not to delay the process. Layover days are for relaxing and having a leisurely breakfast. On moving days breakfast will be from 7:00 until 7:30. There is a lot to do and it is always good to have extra time at the end of the day rather than to be late and run into trouble. Cooperation is expected and required on these days. Guests will be issued horn bags. We find these superior to traditional saddle bags, to carry lunch, water, camera, gloves, etc. Rain gear and extra jackets will be tied behind your saddle. Typically we take a short break on the trail in the morning, about a 30 minute lunch break and then depending on the destination for the day, maybe a short break in the afternoon. There will be one mule that accompanies the guest group. This mule will have a first aid kit and satellite phone. There is also room for extra gear that folks might have that does not safely fit on their saddle. We use a very high-end water filter for camp drinking water. Your trail guide will point out good places to fill your bottles with clean water. If you want all of your water filtered all of the time, it is your responsibility to have your own personal filter. We also have bear spray for guides on fishing and hiking excursions. Guests may want their own bear spray but be aware you cannot take it with you on flights. We send out an extensive gear list to all clients who book a trip with us. If you have any questions at any time please don’t hesitate to contact us. We want this to be an enjoyable and safe experience for everyone.

The 7 Lazy P Crew

Here are our suggestions for clothing and gear so that you are comfortable and prepared to enjoy your trip. If you are a seasoned outdoor person you most likely already know what works best for you. If this is your first trip, or you are unsure of what to bring, this may be of help. Anytime you have questions about gear, don’t hesitate to contact us. Also, if you have any doubts before the trip we can help you go through your gear at the ranch. You want functional and practical articles of clothing, just what you need and not one thing more. A good rule of thumb is a change of underclothing for every two days, an extra pair of trousers, and two extra shirts. Remember when you are packing that you will be wearing the first two days of clothes. Also, there will be opportunities to launder a few articles like socks and t-shirts if needed.



1 set for every two days. You may want a special pair of socks for hiking or a pair that you will wear in wading sandals for fishing.


A light set of tops and bottoms for cold, rainy days and nights.

The synthetics are of course better than all cotton and that goes for T-shirts as well.


In addition to what you will be wearing when we leave the ranch you will want:

» 2 shirts – long sleeved are best, one lighter, one heavier.

» Extra pair of jeans or other durable trousers that are suitable for riding.

» You may also like to bring a pair of light hiking pants/shorts and a swimsuit.


» Western boots are fine if you prefer them to ride in but are not mandatory.

» Don’t bring lighter, fashion boots or others of questionable quality as they will most likely fail, especially if they get wet (which they will).

» A good pair of gore tex, medium weight hiking shoes will keep your feet dry in wet weather, are fine for riding, and will save bringing an extra pair for hiking.

» Tennis shoes or equivalent for camp wear.

» Crocs or water sandals for bathing and wading.

Outer Layers

Heed your own temperature tolerance level when assembling your outerwear for the trip. It may be in the 80’s one day and drop to the 40’s at night, or lower if there is a storm. There is a plethora of outdoor clothing available and seeing much of it being worn around town you probably have most, if not all of what you need.

» Fleece sweater or jacket

» Vest and/or light quilted jacket with shell or a medium weight jacket

» Rain Suit - The best you have or can afford. Pants and jacket are best. If you have and like to carry a saddle slicker that is fine too.

We are not too high on the “oil skin” type. They are heavy and usually not that water proof. No Ponchos please.

» Hats - Ball caps are good, a brimmed hat if you choose. A beanie is good for cool mornings.

» Gloves - a light pair and a synthetic or wool pair that will keep you warm when wet.

Sleeping Gear

You want a sleeping bag that will keep you warm down to 30 degrees or so. Since they are rated a little high I would choose one that is rated for 15, or even 0 if you have trouble sleeping warm. Again use your personal temperature tolerance level.

» Mummy bag - The back packing style mummy bags are lighter, save on space, and are warmer.

» Self inflating pad - No shortage of options here. Reasonable size and thickness please.

» Camp pillow - Small and compressible.

Toiletries and Personal items

» Toilet kit with usual items and anything else you may anticipate needing, it’s a long ride to the drug store.

» Prescriptions, pain relievers

» Baby wipes

» Sun screen, insect repellent, chap stick

» Bath towel & wash cloth

» Soap & shampoo biodegradable preferred

» Extra pair of glasses if you use them

» Epi pens? If you need to have an epi pen close by, it is best to have 2 with you and 2 more in your gear.

We need to be made discreetly aware of any other medical conditions that could create a situation on the trip.


» Head light and extra batteries

» Camera (card & battery if needed)

» Water bottle (2)

» Day pack for hikes - One that is light and easily compressible into your duffel is the best. Day packs will not be taken on the horses when riding.

» Note pad or journal, book for reading, deck of cards

» Sunglasses

» Compact Binoculars

» If you like, you may bring some beer or boxed wine (Black Box pack well, bottles will not be allowed). This will pack with the groceries.


The streams we get into are not large and are easily wadeable. On the high country trips there may only be a couple of days for fishing. So unless your trip

is fishing specific, we ask that you keep the gear minimal and not bring waders, using instead water shoes to wade with. Thanks!

» Montana Fishing Licensce

» Fishing rod a 4 wt rod will be fine in most situations. Pack rods if you have one.

» A few incidentals tippet, floatant, an extra leader or two, etc.

» A short list of dry flies will most likely do, however some like to bring a few Nymphs and Streamers.

A few to consider: Dry flies: Royal Wulfe, Royal Coachmen, Crazy Goof’s, Elk Hair Caddis, Joe’s Hopper, Dave’s Hoppers, Pale Evening Dunn, Parachute Adams, Stimulators Nymphs: Copper John, Prince Nymph Streamers: Muddler Minnow, Woolly Bugger If you are an avid fisherman you will have your own list, this is just a few of the common flies for our area. Barbless hooks are recommended.

Spinning Outfits: if you bring a spinning rod make sure lures are single hook.

Assembling Your Pile of Stuff

You will need a duffel bag, long and narrow is better for packing than short and fat bags. A bag that is about 32” x 14” should hold all your gear except maybe your pad and sleeping bag. You may bring those in another bag or loose and we will combine them in the loads. Your clothing, sleeping bag, and pad should all weigh 35 lbs or less. Be sure and line your duffel with a garbage bag or put you clothes in zip lock bags to keep contents dry incase of a down pour on the trail. Same for sleeping bags. Your rain gear and light jacket will go with you on your saddle at all times. We will provide horn bags for your lunch, water bottle, and items like camera and gloves etc. There will also be a mule that travels with you and your wrangler that will have a first aid kit, satellite phone, and room for any miscellaneous articles needed.

Horsemanship Tips

An important part of our operation is our riding and pack stock. Without them, you and I wouldn’t get very far. They’re not just essential transportation, they are creatures we care deeply about and their welfare is one of our highest priorities. Making sure that you have a safe experience with your horse is important to us. We give a short seminar prior to departure from the trailhead, but here are some things to ponder in the meantime. Many of you have at least some riding experience, some may even have their own mounts, and some may have never been on a horse before. If this is your first time riding, or it has been years since you were on a horse, getting some riding in before the trip is great if you can do it. It should sharpen your skills and raise your confidence level.

» Your horse is a thinking, feeling creature. Be kind and don’t ask him to do the impossible. He is your partner, not your slave. Treat them with respect and they will take care of you.

» When riding the trail, one of the crew will be in the lead. We will always stop and start together. Don’t hesitate to call out anytime you need to stop for any reason. The entire group will wait, otherwise your horse will probably not stand still for you to remount as he will want to catch up to the other horses. This may be the number one opportunity for an accident. So make sure the person in front of you waits for you to get back on. Before remounting is also a good time to check your cinch, especially if it has been awhile.

» Try not to become dead weight on your horse’s back, this is really hard on them. It may not seem like it, but you can make a dramatic difference with your posture. Stay up on your stirrups and help the horse out when going up or down hills and crossing bogs and logs. Riding a horse should be an interactive endeavor. Put some life in your seat and try to move with the horse and not against him. They will appreciate it and so will we.

» We will get off and walk periodically. This is really important to avoid sore knees. Your butt may be tired at the end of the day but that will recover quickly. Knees that are tweaked and sore from riding too long can give you trouble the whole trip. So, when you feel your knees getting stiff, get off and walk for 15 or 20 minutes. We will let everyone know when we are on a good stretch of trail to walk.

» The crew will do the saddling, but it doesn’t hurt for you to keep an eye on your equipment. Make sure your cinch is snug before mounting and watch the position of your saddle and pad, especially going downhill. If you think there is a problem with any of your equipment be sure and let your guide know, it will probably only take a second to fix and could prevent a wreck.

» The best way to avoid any problems is to use good sense when riding. If it doesn’t look right, don’t get yourself into a jam.

Species targeted
Cutthroat Trout
Cutthroat Trout

Contact 7 Lazy P Outfitting