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Livingston Area
  Elephanthead Mtn. H

Paradise Valley
  S. Fk. Deep Creek H
  Pine Creek H,C
  George Lake H
  Passage Creek Falls H
  Crow Mountain H

Big Timber Area
  Boulder River H,C,V
  Natural Bridge Falls H,C,V
  Big Timber Creek Falls  H,C,V
  West Boulder Meadows H,C
  Twin Lakes  H,C
  Prairie Dog State.Park   V

Bozeman Area
  
Chestnut Mountain H
  Goose Creek H,S
  Mystic Lake H
  Lava Lake H

Central Montana
  Little Belt Mountains H,C,V,S
  Castle Mountains H,C
  Central MT Railroading V
  Cooney Reservoir C,V
  Crystal Lake H,C,V
  Judith Mountains V
  Judith Gap Wind Farm V
  Moccasin Mountains V

The Yellowstone River
  Upper Yellowstone Floating
  Yankee Jim Canyon

Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness
  Anvil Lake H,C
  Beartooth Lake H,C,V
  Beartooth Highway V
  Island Lake H,C,V

Western Montana
  Painted Rocks Rec Area V,C
  Salmon Lake State Park V,C
  Warm Spring Ponds  V


Crow Mountain Trail in Paradise Valley


          The Mill Creek drainage south of Livingston, MT is a popular National Forest access area where people enjoy hiking, camping , fishing, skiing, snowmobiling and every other form of recreation. The drainage is fairly large and there are a lot of different areas to explore.

           The Crow Mountain trail begins from the end of the main Mill Creek road near Lambert Creek. The trailhead is reached by continuing on the main road past the forest service campground. About 5 miles past the campground the road crosses Mill creek and begins to ascend up the hillside to the south. Leaving the creek behind you will continue to climb for about a half mile to a junction in the road take the fork to the left turning sharpley to the East. This entire area of the drainage has been heavily logged in the past and you are traveling on an old logging road as you climb. There are several spur roads leading off but continue to follow the main drainage, always staying to the left. About 3 miles after leaving the creek you will reach the trailhead parking area.
Crow Mountain from trailHigh sheer mountain faces define the headwaters of Mill Creek

          From the parking area the trail begins by following an old logging road. At this point you are near Lambert Creek, far above Mill creek. The trail follows Mill Creek as it ascends into the mountains. The creek is to the left and as you hike it will gradually rise up towards you as the creek climbs fastetr than the hikers. This is an easy trail and a nice gentle hike. After about a half mile the logging road dissappears and from this point on you will follow a standard foot trail.

           I say a standard trail but anyone who has spent much time hiking in Montana knows there is no such thing! This particular trail is really pretty easy to hike it is in good condition and is never too steep. On average the trail climbs less than 400 ft per mile and is never very strenuous. After a mile or so you will have reached Mill Creek and will find a corssing. Soon after crossing the creek watch for trail 221 which heads to the north towards Pyramid Mountain and Anderson Creek. Stay to the right at this junction and after about another mile or so you will pass a small pond on your left. Little ponds like this are common throughout the mountains and while they don't look like much, they provide water and habitat for a lot of different creatures.
Upper Mill Creek along Crow Mountain hiking trail High in the mountains, Mill Creek is a small stream in mid summer. This section of the creek is at one of the crossings.

           The trail continues to gain elevation as it follows Mill Creek upward. After passiong the pond the trail begins to get steeper and continues upward toward the high mountains to the south. After another mile or so the trail begins to disappear as you enter a large basin that is surrounded by towering sheer rock walls that rise 1,500 feet or more in a near vertical face. This is a scenic area that offers excellent off trail exploring in the basin.

         The trail basically ends at this point. There is no practical way to scale the mountains ahead and the basin is a destination for backpackers, hikers, hunters and horse riders. However, it sees few of any of these users. As you explore the area watch carefully for the mountain goats that are said to live in this area.

           While not one of the more popular hikes in the Mill Creek drainage, Crow Mountain is an excellent hike that takes you into some high country with great views and the possibility of wildlife viewing.

An Interesting Crow Mountain Hiking Experience

Hiking Crow Mountain  Small high mountain ponds like this are rich in a variety of life. They attract a lot of animals so watch carefully for wildlife when you are near them.
           On August 11, 2007 we set out for a day hike up to the Crow Mountain basin. The area had been experiencing hot dry days and nights and the fire danger was very high. In fact, just the previous day a fire had broken out in the Mill Creek drainage about 10 miles to the east of the Crow Mountain trail. Just to make sure that there would be no problem I had called the Livingston Ranger District the prior evening and they told me that there was no problem, that the fire was very small and not spreading and there was no reason to change our hiking plans.

         As we drove up the canyon and on towards the trail head we noticed that there was a smoggy look to the skies but no sign of any real fire activity. There were no Forest Service trucks or other vehicles around and all was perfectly normal. We did a round trip up to the basin and upon returning to the car found a note on our windshield
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telling us there was a full drainage evacuation taking place and that we should immediately leave the area. Needless to say we didn't delay our drive out and when we reached the USFS Snowbank campground we found that the road was barricaded and staffed by two USFS personel. They waved us over and asked if we were the vehicle that was at the Lambert Creek trail head. When we confirmed that we were the ranger replied "Thank goodness. You're the last ones in the drainage and we're really glad that you are getting out."

         They proceeded to tell us that the small fire from the day before had blow up and was now raging out of control. We knew that it must have gotten a lot bigger as we could see the plume of smoke rising as we returned down canyon on our drive. This became known as the Wicked fire and  it burned nearly 25,000 acres in the Mill Creek drainage.   

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