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Big Timber to Blue and Granite Lakes

Intermediate/Difficult
 5.0 (1) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A great day trip through a dramatic valley to alpine lakes.


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Map Key

8.2

Miles

13.2

KM

81%

Runnable

8,344' 2,543 m

High

6,478' 1,974 m

Low

1,927' 587 m

Up

1,927' 587 m

Down

9%

Avg Grade (5°)

56%

Max Grade (29°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Birding · Fishing · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Overview

This route offers the great parts of the high country.

You start with the three-tiered Big Timber Falls. Then you hike along a powerful creek that flows over sculpted rock. If you bring your pole, you can drop a line in some of the deep pools in the creek.

As you get deeper in the valley, the walls rise 3,000' to either side of you. Finally, you come to pristine alpine lakes with a backdrop of granite cliffs.

Need to Know

The last two miles of the road in requires a 4x4 or slow driving.

Runner Notes

Lots of loose cobbles on the first section.

Description

From the parking lot, you enter the Big Timber Creek valley.

The trail heads up mostly at railroad grade. Your first landmark along the way is the turn-off for Big Timber Falls Trail #330 at about a third of a mile. Cut in and check out the falls before continuing on the Big Timber Creek Trail #119 .

Keep winding your way up the trail and about a mile in you cross the creek on a solid bridge. The walls of the valley have started to squeeze in at this point. Cross the creek again at a nice, open area at two miles.

A powerful climb leads to some flatter hiking where the trail ends at the intersection of the Sweet Grass Trail and Blue Lake Trail #118. Coming off of the Big Timber Creek Trail #119, take a sharp left. As you come down to the creek, ignore the trail heading off to the right and rock hop across.

Make your away through mature forest until you start switchbacks through scree. You end up getting channeled into a rift in the rock. The trail curves along and provides expansive views into the valley.

Once you reach the top, you first come to a couple of alpine ponds with the remnants of an old cabin. Another short rise leads to the top of the ridge above Blue and Granite Lake.

History & Background

The Crazy Mountains were an important location for vision quests for the Crow people. The first section of the trail follows an old railroad line.

Contacts

Shared By:

Russell Hobart

Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 1 vote

#1348

Overall
  5.0 from 1 vote
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Recommended Route Rankings

#40

in Montana

#1,348

Overall
95 Views Last Month
942 Since Sep 17, 2020
Intermediate/Difficult

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Photos

Granite peak rises above the lake.
Sep 17, 2020 near Big Timber, MT
Layers of mountains in the smoke.
Sep 16, 2020 near Big Timber, MT
Mountains rising above the creek on a smoky day.
Sep 16, 2020 near Big Timber, MT
Disappearing layers of mountains.
Sep 17, 2020 near Big Timber, MT
Smoky valley lies below.
Sep 17, 2020 near Big Timber, MT
Fast waters pushing down the Big Timber Creek.
Sep 16, 2020 near Big Timber, MT

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