Being so inexperienced in the ways of hiking and backpacking, I really appreciate my friends who have done it before and are prepared to make suggestions for me. One such idea was a venue to go at the end of April when I have a few days off work and I want to test all of my gear (and my physical body) before tackling the 100-mile section of the PCT in Oregon the following month. It's the Bear Trap Canyon wilderness, on BLM land near Ennis, Montana (about 8 miles from Norris).
It is reputed to have very mild weather, so the third week of April should be fine. It's well before the busy fly-fishing and whitewater rafting season, and before the warmer weather that allows too many rattlesnakes to come out. I guess I'd better get myself a snakebite kit, just in case. The route itself is about 9 miles long but can only be accessed from the northern end by hikers (access from the south was closed to all but rafters), so the round trip could be up to 18 miles long. With Norris Hot Springs being so close, this is looking pretty attractive.