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). Most of the 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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Scroll below photos for Driving Directions and Trail Description.


After you park, your first obstacle is the landslide.

The road is pretty easy going and is above the trees.

Montana Mountain from the fork in the road. The summit is direct center. The saddle and couloir are slightly to the right and the ridge is on the far right.

Walking on the road to the left with the colouir and summit in the background.

The tarn, surrounded by a cirque with a rocky, black knob jutting out of it.

Heading up the couloir. The summit is on the far right.

Looking down the couloir with a view all the way back to Whitehorse.

A view behind Montana Mountain from the saddle. Tutshi Lake is way at the back and Mount Matheson is on the right.

A view to the east from the saddle. There is a tram-line and more mining roads down on the plateau.

The black summit of Montana Mountain. You can follow a worn-out trail up, or just scramble as you please.

Looking down (north) from the summit back towards the road.

Looking east from the summit towards Windy Arm of Tagish Lake. There is a repeater along this ridge.

The southeast view from the summit with Dail Peak on the upper right (connected to the same plateau as Montana Mountain).

The steep, rocky face of Mount Matheson.

If you take the ridge route, you get a view of the valley between Montana Mountain and Mount Matheson with Bennett Lake at the end.

There are plenty of spots to pitch a tent on the Montana plateau.

Driving Directions

From Carcross, drive south on the South Klondike Highway across the bridge and take your first right. Take the next left up a gravel road. Continue straight up, you're on the Montana Mountain Road. The condition of the road varies depending on recent maintenance work and road use. Note the area has a big mountain biking trail network so make sure to share the road.

Drive for about 8 km on the Montana Mountain Road. There was a smaller washout around here that you may or may not be able to cross. There is a landslide at KM 10 that is impassable by vehicle, and this will be considered the trailhead.

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Trail Description

Please Note: that the Montana Mountain area is within critical post-calving habitat for the Carcross Caribou Herd of the Southern Lakes Region. If you come across any caribou (or other wildlife for that matter), always keep your distance, giving all wildlife a wide berth, and keep any dogs on leashes or leave them at home... they won't know what they are missing!

From the trailhead at KM 10, 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.

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 after the fork in the road, 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 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, steeper 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 peak 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 (southeast) with the steep rock face is Mount Matheson. Looking back towards Carcross (north) slightly to the left (northeast) is Brute Mountain. The hill slightly to the right (northwest) in the same direction is Sugarloaf Hill.