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Hellroaring Plateau, Beartooth Mountains


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This area is nice for either a short backpack trip or a day hike. Access is off of US 212, approximately 9 miles south of Red Lodge, Montana. The turn off is right at the bottom of the switchbacks out of Rock Creek and after crossing the creek, proceed on FS road 2004. This road is not quite Jeep trail but there is a lot of rock in the large cobble size and even a few boulders and a full size SUV, pickup or Jeep is advised. Road 2004 is an old mining road that winds it's way up the west side of the canyon through a small bowl and has a number of tight switchbacks near its terminus at the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness boundary at an elevation of approximately 10,200'. From that point, FS Trail 11 takes one to the junction of the Hellroaring Lakes path (not an official trail but well defined for the most part) at the two mile mark. From there, it is about a mile to Snowbank Lake and another half mile to Hairpin Lake. There are a number of good tent sites between those lakes.

Other lakes in this group include Crescent, Elk Horn, Hellroaring, Daly, Smethurst, and Rydberg. Sliderock Lake sits above these in a connected but separate bowl.

At the trailhead:


Snowbank Lake:


Hairpin Lake:


Sliderock Lake/Mount Rearguard (12,2004')



Smethurst and Daly Lakes, Rock Creek canyon in distance.


Crescent Lake:


Camp with a portion of Hairpin Lake in the background:


The fishing is really decent in all these lakes with brookies being the most common but also some nice Yellowstone cuts in Hairpin.

Edited by grizzled
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