Montana Mountain


Distance: 15 km
Elevation Gain: 853 m (2799 ft)
Time: 5.5 hours
Difficulty: Moderate
Region: Carcross
Date Added: July 3, 2011
Last Update: July 3, 2011
Winter: alpine skiing ski touring snowshoeing 



The Montana plateau is a great area to explore, and Montana Mountain is the highest peak on the Montana massif. It isn't a difficult hike, but you need a vehicle with a little bit of clearance (even a car that doesn't sit too low is fine). The entire hike is above the tree line and the views are always pleasant. The view from the summit and the ridge are fantastic, opening up an ocean of mountain tops in all directions.


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Driving Directions

From Carcross, drive south across the bridge and take your first right. Drive to the end of the road and make a left up a gravel road. Continue straight up, you're on the Montana Mountain road. The lower section is the worst, so if you have enough clearance to get up the first couple of kilometers, you will be fine. Vehicles with high clearance are able to get further than vehicles with low clearance.

If your vehicle has high clearance, you can avoid the landslide at kilometer 10 by leaving the main road and taking another one. About 1 km before the first washout (roughly 7 km up the road) there is a road to the left (marked by some stones and a square post). With high clearance, you can take this road all the way into the alpine.

If you don't have high clearance, park after 8 km where a creek washes out half the road.

There is a landslide at 10 km that is impassable, and this will be considered the trailhead. If you are able to drive all the way to the alpine, your hike will be slightly shorter.




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Trail Description

From the trailhead at 10 km up the road, you will have to cross the landslide. The landslide cuts across at a fairly steep angle and the small rocks are loose and will slide down as you walk across, but it is not overly difficult. You can walk up and around the landslide through the bushes, but this will take a little longer and the bank is steep. At the far end of the landslide, it is easiest to head down to the stream that cuts through and walk up the stream back to the road.

Continue walking up the road for another 2.5 km where you will reach a fork in the road and come to an open plateau. Montana Mountain is directly in front of you. Take the road to the right and either follow it as it winds it's way to the mountain, or walk across the plateau and intersect the road.

After about 2 kms you have a choice of how to climb up the mountain. You can either take the ridge on the far right and walk along the long ridge to the summit, or you can walk straight ahead and climb up the couloir to the saddle between the ridge and the summit. Both options are fairly easy, the ridge being a longer scenic route and the couloir a more direct route. If there is snow in the couloir, it can be easier than walking up scree rock on the ridge (and you can slide down it on the descent). If you can't decide, then do a loop by going up one way and coming down the other.

To get to the couloir, walk up the road towards the ridge to your left (this ridge has a formidable black, rocky knob on it). There is a small tarn below the ridge cirque. The couloir is straight up from this alpine tarn. If there is still snow in the couloir, cut up it at an angle on the first steep section, and then just walk straight up to the saddle below the summit. It is a quick scramble up to the summit from the saddle.

If you want to walk along the ridge, follow the road leading to the right-most ridge. Once on the top you can easily walk along it (and the worn-out sheep trail) towards the saddle below the summit.

From the summit, you get a 360 degree view of the area. You can see Grey Mountain near Whitehorse, Mount Skukum on the Annie Lake road, Bennett Lake, Tutshi Lake, Tagish Lake, and all the way down the White Pass and Chilkoot area.

There is a repeater station further down on the Montana ridge which you can walk to if you wish (note that the repeater is not on the true summit). The mountain behind Montana (south-east) with the steep rock face is Mount Matheson. Looking back towards Carcross (north) slightly to the left (north-east) is Brute Mountain. The bump slightly to the right (north-west) in the same direction is Sugarloaf Hill.

Elevations

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Comments / Trip Reports

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Marc
June 12, 2016

Hiked Montana Mountain on June 10th. I started at around 7 pm, parked my car at the 8 km point, I walked for a few kilometers and ended up at the Mountain Hero bike Trailhead which is at the fork (where my picture was taken). I followed that trail and I was on the summit (green dot) at 11:45 pm watching the sunset! Beautiful hike.

There's about a dozen different trails going in every direction on Montana Plateau, so it would be good to know in advanced WHICH ONE takes you to Montana Mountain? Also, there's about 5 or 6 different peaks that look to be around the same altitude from below, so it's hard to know which one you're supposed to get to... I just assumed this is where I had to go and I still don't know if I took the correct path. I ended up doing a big loop (red line) and continued my way along the ridge to make sure I was going to be on Montana Mountain at one point.

I came back down on one of the ridges after that repeater station on one of the summits. Camped out, came back the next day. For having done Brute Mountain the day before, I would say Montana was way harder (at least, the path I took). But it was also way nicer!
Sean
September 17, 2013

Depending on what you've got for a vehicle, you can drive pretty much to the base of the ridge via the road that bypasses the landslide. An ATV or side-by-side would allow you to go right up the old cat road switchbacks on the east ridge and from there it's about a 20 foot walk up onto the ridge to start hiking. Fantastic views in every direction!
Sophie
September 8, 2013

Amazing view at the top, worth it! But we found a bit difficult to find our way through the bushes to avoid the landslide, we ended up doing 18K total with this extra walk. Maybe we should have tried to cross the landslide directly, but it was really steep and the rocks were sliding under our feet. The next time we will try the 1905 road in order to get closer from the start in car.
Mike
August 17, 2013

I went up a couple of weeks ago and did not see the 1905 road that's apparently marked. I made it to 8km parking where the road is washed out and walked to the landslide. I tried to make it across, but halfway across, it was too dangerous and had to turn back. I was quite disappointed. I'd really like to find the 1905 road...
Sue
June 21, 2012

Murray:

Please do. I've been looking for a copy of that book...
Murray Lundberg
July 3, 2011

If you have a fairly high-clearance 4x4 (we now use a Chevy Tracker) you can drive many miles further. About a kilometer past the tailings pond (and about a kilometer before the first partial washout of the road being described here), there is a smaller road that goes off to the left - you go through a shallow ditch to access it. This is the original 1905 wagon road, and it can be followed for about 15 miles further, opening up a vast area to day hiking. Some day I'll get my book about the mountain (Fractured Veins & Broken Dreams) back into print - there is an incredible variety of country to see up there.