Camping, Hiking and Traveling in Montana
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Hike Index
H=Hike   C=Camp   V=Visit     S=Ski

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

Elephanthead Mountain Trail near Livingston, MT

     The trail to Elephanthead Mountain (forest trail #37) is a favorite hike for many in the Livingston/Big Timber area. The Elephanthead trail is in the headwaters of Mission Creek, a significant drainage that comes off the Absaroka Mountains and runs into the Yellowstone River east of Livingston. You can get to Mission Creek and the Elephanthead trailhead from either Livingston or Big Timber, but most people come in from the Livingston side as the road from Big Timber is a long gravel road drive.

     To get to the Elephanthead trailhead, drive out east out of Livingston on US 89 (Park Street -- the main street through Livingston). Cross the Yellowstone River on the east edge of Livingston and continue for about 1 mile to a well signed
Elephanthead Mountain Gallatin Forest Montana
     Elephanthead Mountain is a prominent flat topped mountain that reaches more than 9,400 ft elevation. 
turn to the right onto Swingly Road. The Swingly Road is a well maintained gravel road that you will follow for 6-7 miles until you reach Bruffy Lane which branches off to the right. Take this gravel road about 1 mile until you reach the 63 Ranch. Turn right toward the ranch and when the road forks bear left and go through the green gate. Continue on for 1 mile to the trailhead.

      Please note that the trailhead is reached by traveling through the private property of the 63 Ranch and we must all respect their right at all times. Close the gates behind you if they are closed when you get to them. Be sure to stay on the road through the ranch and make sure to avoid disturbing the guest ranch operations.

Elephanthead Mountain Mission Creek Montana       The trail to Elephanthead Mountain is a well maintained trail that climbs steadily. Mush of the trail is through forest areas that were burned in the 2003 Rough Draw Complex fire. Although there are a lot of dead trees, ther vinbrant new growth shows how much fire is a part of the natural ecosystem.
     The Elephanthead trailhead is at about 5,750 ft elevation and the trail parallels Mission Creek for the first three miles or so. The trail is mostly in very good condition. The lower sections of the trail are frequently used by ranch guests as well as by locals and its common to encounter other hikers on the trail. The Elephanthead trail runs straight up the mountain following Mission Creek, climbing through the woods and heading consistently to the west. The trail climbs steadily upward following the creek higher and higher.

      You will reach Elephanthead Mountain after about 4 miles of hiking. There is no developed trail to the top but the route to the summit should be obvious and the scramble is made by many hikers. Elephanthead Mountain is a large flat topped peak thattops out at 9,430 ft. It is easily climbed with no special equipment required. However, it is a steep hike to the summit. Once you get there you will enjoy great views of the surrounding mountains and out into the Yellowstone Valley.

      Although most hikers are heading for Elephanthead Mountain, thru-hikers will continue on trail #37 until it intersects with trail #337 which can be followed around to its trailhead on the West Boulder River, or you can follow the trail for a short distance until it intersects with trail #388 which will lead you to the
Elephanthead Mountain South Central Montana     The trail back from Elephanthead Mountain offers great views down the Mission Creek drainage.
Davis Creek Pass and the South Fork Deep Creek trail which will lead into the Paradise Valley south of Livingston.

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      Most hikers will turn around at the base of Elephanthead Mountain or after reaching its summit. The hike back down the trail loses altitude at a steady pace and it?s an easy hike back to the trailhead making this a great hike for just about anyone who enjoys the outdoors.

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