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Highwood Baldy Out-and-Back

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  4.0 ( 1 ) Favorite

Trail

6.2 mile 9.9 kilometer out and back
53% Runnable
Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 3,191' 973 m
Descent: -3,191' -972 m
High: 7,638' 2,328 m
Low: 4,447' 1,356 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 20% (11°)
Max Grade: 51% (27°)

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Trail shared by Chris Boise

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Run up Highwood Baldy for unobstructed views from the tallest peak in the Highwood Mountains.

Chris Boise

Features Birding · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Spring · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Overview

There are two things to keep in mind while running this trail: 1) Follow the creek until the clearing and 2) Then run the ridgeline to the summit

Need to Know

Getting to the trailhead will require a vehicle with some ground clearance, preferably a 4x4 truck. After leaving the paved roads outside of Great Falls, you'll have to travel 16 miles of bumpy dirt road, with some large puddle crossings, and two river crossings. The rivers are not deep and have a solid rocky bottom, so you just need to have ground clearance. If you have a car you wont be able to do the two river crossings, this will add another three miles to the run (round-trip).

The ridgeline to the top is exposed to the southwest. If winds are strong out of the southwest, you may want to pick another day.

Description

Right off the bat, the Deer Creek Trail #453 kicks off with a stream crossing out of the parking area. You should be able to hop across a few rocks without having to get your feet wet. The trail starts off as a pretty gradual ascent as you meander back and forth across Deer Creek (small stream hops required). Horses use the trail frequently so its got a decent foot trail to follow.

After about two miles, the trees will begin thin out, and you'll see the daunting incline that awaits. Deer Creek Trail #453 continues south from the crest. Instead of following Deer Creek Trail #453 (which admittedly is tough to follow past here), pick a point on the ridge in front of you and go to it. It is a pretty tough ascent, but there are some old cow trails that cross on the hillside which might make it a little bit easier. Either way, stay on the ridge to the summit.

You'll not be let down with the views at the top. There is some radio equipment at the top as well. If you in the mood for some camping, Thain Creek Campground is nearby with many other running options available. Otherwise, after a break and taking in the view, head back the way you came.

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  4.0 from 1 vote

#3316

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  4.0 from 1 vote
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Featured Run Rankings

#62

in Montana

#3,316

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467 Since May 5, 2018
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Photos

Half way up, looking up the ridge line to the summit.
May 5, 2018 near Fort Be…, MT

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