Big Sky, MT: 8/26 – 8/29/20

I always thought that my first time in Big Sky, MT, would be to downhill ski – not happening in August. From Little Big Horn, we traveled north west on Hwy 90 to Bozeman, MT, and then south on Hwy 191. We had a reservation at Moose Creek Flat Campground, which is located about fifteen miles from Big Sky Ski Resort on Hwy 191, parallel to the Gallatin River.

Although there weren’t any trees for shade by the camper, there were trees along the river’s edge just behind us.

We took a drive to Big Sky Resort. I bet it looks a bit different in the winter.

The resort was open for biking and hiking, and one restaurant was also open with outdoor dining up on the deck. Masks were required while on the premises. Notice the “Yield” sign for bikes.

The next day we hiked Lava Lake Trail. The trailhead was less than 10 miles from our campground just off Hwy 191.

This 5.7 mile round-trip hike began with a steep upgrade. I was out of breath less than fifteen minutes into the hike. Can you tell?

There were many switch-backs, two creek crossings, and one foot bridge. Scott was eating the thimbleberries, but I wouldn’t. How did he know if it was poisonous or not?

It’s 1,629’ elevation gain brings you to a beautiful, clear lake.

On Friday, we returned to the ski mountain and hiked 7.24 miles round-trip. It took us just over eight hours to complete. Total elevation gain was 3,618’. The last mile was the killer in my opinion. The talus and scree made it tricky to climb up the steep mountain, but even scarier to climb back down. Below are some highlights.

The beginning of our hike on Huckleberry Trail. It was a bit chilly and windy at 7:00 a.m
Soon, the trail began to weave into the wooded area.
At 1.5 hours in, we began the steep climb to the summit. Notice the “Caution” sign. Maybe someday we will ski this black diamond run. Today we are going in the opposite direction!
Taking a breathing break not ten minutes later. Where is the summit????
A little bit of a reprieve with a flattening of the scree for a short while. We are 2.5 hours into the hike.
Thirty minutes later, the steep incline begins and doesn’t stop. Look at the view behind us!
Eleven minutes later, I stopped to take a picture of the beautiful wildflowers that are not visible in the winter. We are so close now!
This view would normally be a sea of white. Looks a lot different today.
We made it to the summit! The top of the gondola is on the right. It took us four hours to reach this summit.
We hope to be back someday to ski one of these diamonds!
Zoom in to see the beginning of the gondola dead center. It is hard to tell from a picture just how steep this section of the mountain is.
Other than hiking, the gondola is the only access to Big Sky Lone Mountain’s Summit.

The descent took us the same amount of time. I felt safer hiking up than hiking down. The scree was lose and slippery. Although Scott felt that this was a really good hike with a fun ridge line, I will ONLY return to this summit via the gondola. For the record, I said that this would be my last summit. We finally made it back to the base of the mountain. I looked back to see the summit of what we just hiked. See for yourself in the photo below.

Almost the end of Huckleberry Trail

Next stop, Glacier National Park!

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