H Paradise Valley
S. Fk. Deep Creek
Pine Creek H,C
Passage Creek Falls
Big Timber Area
Creek Falls H,C,V
Boulder Meadows H,C
Twin Lakes H,C
Lava Lake H
Little Belt Mountains
MT Railroading V
Gap Wind Farm V
Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness
Rocks Rec Area V,C
Lake State Park V,C
West Boulder River
Near Big Timber, MT
Twin Lakes are probably the most popular hiking
destination in Montana's Crazy Mountains. The
Crazy Mountains are an island mountain range north of
the Livingston/Big Timber area. The trailhead for hiking to Twin Lakes
is located in Big Timber Canyon near the popular Halfmoon
Campground. This is a very popular access area which provides
access to the Big
Timber Creek Falls, The popular Crazy Mountain Crossing
backpacking trail and the trail to Blue
Lake. If you visit this area expect to find other hikers and
campers enjoying this spectacular area.
Halfmoon Campground and the trail head to Twin
easily accessed by traveling to the end of the Big Timber Creek road.
Travel north out of Big Timber, MT
on US 191 for about 11 miles to a well
marked turn onto the Big Timber Canyon Road that runs west toward
the Crazy Mountains.
Follow this gravel road for about 2 miles to a
junction where you bear to the right, again toward the mountains.
Follow the road until it ends at the Halfmoon Campground,
Halfmoon Picnic Area and the Big Timber Canyon trailhead. The trailhead
parking is located on the right as you arrive with the road continuing
on to the left where it enters the campground and picnic area.
The big Timber Creek Canyon trail is wide and
generally not very
steep. Much of the trail is part of an old road which offers
side-by-side hiking in places.
Beginning from the
trailhead the trail climbs
steadily but not steeply to Twin Lakes. The trail follows an old road
bed so it is wide and fairly level. However,
it is a very rocky trail so hiking is not always easy. About 1/4 mile
from the trailhead there is an unmarked side trail to the left that
takes you to Big
Timber Creek Falls. This short side trip is highly
recommended as the Falls are an impressive sight.
Continuing on, the trail stays wide and easy to
There are two crossings where the trail crosses Big Timber Creek.
However, each crossing has a large sturdy bridge to cross on. The creek
itself is a popular
destination for extreme kayakers and at times you might find
enjoying the rushing waters of Big Timber Creek. If you would like to
learn more about the whitewater opportunities be sure to read our page
Timber Creek Falls.
Big Timber Creek is a beautiful mountain stream.
This photo was
taken from one of the sturdy bridges that span the creek at trail
As you climb the trail you are treated to great
the approaching mountains and soon you reach a junction where a well
signed and maintained trail leads to the left (south) toward Blue Lake.
This trail junction is about 2 1/2 or 3 miles from the trailhead and
Twin Lakes lie about another mile and a half ahead. The first of the
Twin Lakes is called Lower Twin Lake or East Twin Lake. It sits in a
spectacular basin surrounded by hight mountains peaks. These mountains
hold snow late in the year and the steep terrain above the Lake is
visited by backcountry skiers in the spring.
Skiing the slopes above Lower Twin Lake
popular spring/summer activity. These tracks were laid down on the 4th
of July in 2010.
Skiing these peaks is only for experts
who have the
skill, equipment and experience to undertake such an effort. Although
it is a 4 1/2 mile hike to get to the bottom of these mountains, many
skiers will hike in, climb to the top , ski down and hike out all in a
day. There are a few accounts on the web of skiing in the Twin Lakes
area. The best account I know of is this one that contains
photos and a video along with a written description of the trip. Backcountry skiing
near Twin Lakes
Lower Twin Lake is bordered on the north by flat lands that
provide plenty of camping opportunities. However, as already noted, the
snow stays late in this area and it is not unusual to find the ground
snow covered or very wet with melting snow. Reports are that the
mosquitoes can be very bad at Twin Lakes so be sure you are prepared,
especially if you are camping.
The USFS has instituted a permanent fire ban in the area surrounding
Twin Lakes. Do not plan on building a fire of any sort.
Looking west from the shore of Lower
Twin Lake yo
see the spectacular peaks of the Crazy Mountains. The snow fields you
see are popular spring and summer backcountry ski destinations.
Continuing on the trail past Lower Twin Lake, a
hike brings you to Upper Twin Lake which is bordered on the south by a
sheer mountain rising to more than 10,000 ft. The trail skirts the lake
on the north and continues on toward the interior of the Crazy
Mountains. Unless you are heading further into the Crazy
Mountains or conducting a full crossing this is a good place to turn
around after taking photos and memories of the Twin Lakes.
One thing to be aware of if you hike in the Crazy
Mountains and particularly in the Big Timber Creek drainage is that
much of the land, including many steep mountainous areas, is privately
owned. Be sure to know where you are and
stay on the marked trails which are all in places where there is
either public land or an easement. Crazy Peak, the highest point in the
Crazies, is actually privately owned as are a number of the lakes you
will find on your maps. In some cases you can secure permission to
access these lands. Contact the US Forest Service ranger station at
(406) 932-5155 for more information about specific areas.
Twin Lakes are great for a day hike or overnight
beautifully Crazy Mountains. They are easily accessible and are popular
with all hikers. The lakes hold trout for the angler and the scenery is
second to none. Hiking to Twin Lakes is highly recommended.
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