Crazy Mountains in Montana

Crazy Mountains


An extensive 66-mile trail system within the Crazy Mountains Montana makes it among the best hiking and adventure areas in the state of Montana.

  • The Crazy Mountains Montana are completely surrounded by private land, thus making access to the area difficult.
  • Popular recreation opportunities in the Crazy Mountains include hiking, backpacking, mountaineering, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, fishing, and hunting.
  • Within this area, you will find 40 alpine lakes with good fishing.

Overview
The Crazy Mountains Montana rise dramatically some 7,000 feet above the Yellowstone River Valley and the surrounding plains 15 miles northwest of Big Timber. They cover an area of 136,547 acres and are part of the Gallatin and Lewis & Clark national forests. It is a road-less area, but has not been classified as a wilderness area.

The Crazies are a maze of nearly vertical peaks and sawtooth ridges. They range in elevation from 5,590 feet to 11,214 feet. The highest peak is known as Crazy Peak.

Location/ Directions
The Crazy Mountains MT are completely surrounded by private land, thus making access to the area difficult. Private landowners prefer to keep travel into the Crazy at a minimum.

However, the major public accesses are Cottonwood Road (FR 198) from the west and Big Timber Canyon Road (FR 197) to the east.

At the end of Big Timber Canyon Road is Half Moon Campground, which serves as a major public access trailhead to the core of the Crazy Mountains. Parking is available at Half Moon Campground and is free to the public.

To get to Big Timber Canyon's Half Moon Campground, Take US 191 north from I- 90's Big Timber Exits. Travel approximately 11 miles north on 191 to Big Timber Canyon Road and turn left heading west towards the Crazy Mountains. You will be able to see the mountains all along your travels to Half Moon Campground.

You stay on the gravel road for about 14 miles through private land.

For further information contact
Gallatin National Forest
Big Timber District Office
PO Box 1130
225 Big Timber Loop Road
Big Timber, MT 59011
(406) 932-5777

Seasons
The Montana's Crazy Mountains are “open” year round, but like all higher altitude recreational areas, they are more accessible during the warmer months of the year.

Activities
Popular recreation opportunities in the Crazy Mountains include hiking, backpacking, mountaineering, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, fishing, and hunting.

Within this area, you will find 40 alpine lakes with good fishing. The major mountain drainages flow year long into Sweet Grass Creek, Big Timber Creek, Shields River, Rock Creek, and Cottonwood Creek.

Mountain goats call these peaks home - surviving on the moss and lichen growing on rocks and in talus fields. Along with mountain goats, the Crazy Mountains are home to eagles soaring high overhead, elk, deer, black bear, and mountain lion and the largest population of wolverines in the world.

Blue Lake Hiking Trail
Blue Lake is an alpine lake basin below Crazy Peak in the Crazy Mountains. Blue Lake and four other beautiful lakes are nestled in a high basin in the shadow of mighty Crazy Peak. Climbers use the lakes as base camps for an ascent of Crazy Peak or to fish in the lakes or just relax for a few days. The area can get quite busy on weekend, but if you can go during the week, you may have the area all to yourself.

This is a moderate hike having a total length of 8 miles. You can do the entire hike in a day, but it also makes a nice overnighter hike.

Cottonwood Lake Hiking Trail
Cottonwood Lake is a high alpine lake in the midst of the spectacular Crazy Mountains. The first two miles of this hike are along an old jeep trail. This road is closed so there is no vehicular traffic. It is best to attempt this hike in the summer months because this area of the Crazies gets a lot of snow.

This is a strenuous ten-mile hike, out and back. It can be done in one day, but make a nice overnighter.

Crazy Mountains Crossing
This is the best way to see nearly all of the Crazy Mountain Range. It is best to plan on at least two nights out for this hike, but you may want to stay longer – the scenery is spectacular. You will be in the heart of mountain goat country.
This is a strenuous point-to-point hike.

Additional Info
The Crazies are easily seen as they are somewhat isolated from the Rockies and stretch out across 3,486 miles. They rise sharply up from the Plains and are very distinctive due to their high jagged peaks.


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