Snowcrest Trail (4) covers the entire Snowcrest Range from Lewis Creek Road on the Ruby River to Antone Cabin off Blacktail Deer Creek south of Dillon. Ideally a horse trip, the trail could also be a long backpack trip or broken down into several shorter hikes. From Romy Creek Trailhead on Lewis Creek Road you head up Trail 4 and a series of switch-backs to the top of Snowcrest Mountain.
Heading down Trail 4 you arrive more than 15 miles later at Notch Cabin. From here the trail heads through Honeymoon Park and over Stonehouse Mountain. It goes past Trail 61 to Divide Cabin )a possible side trip or access point) to the ridge between Peterson Basin and the head of Lawrence Creek. The trail then turns south down the ridge between Peterson Basin and West Creek, eventually turning west and dropping down to cross West Creek and Antone Creek. The trail finally climbs back up to traverse the south face of the Snowcrest Range. It then winds northwest through timbered draws and the heads of several small drainages. The trail ends at Antone Cabin.
This extensive trail systems traverses along the tops of the isolated Snowcrest Range. Panoramic views from all along the trail stretch out to the Ruby River and Gravelly Ranger to the east and Lima Peaks and the Continental Divide to the west. Crossing long sections of sheer exposed mountainsides, this trail is not for the faint of heart. It would require a long backpack excursion or an extended horseback voyage to complete the entire trail.
Mountain goats preside over the high peaks and elk roam the open alpine parks. The heads of Divide and Corral Creeks, as well as the areas around Ledford Pass and Peterson Basin, provide ideal spots to watch for wildlife. Lupines, larkspur, yellow bells, and other wildflowers reach their peak in late July through August. High up on Stonehouse Mountain the ruins of an old stone shelter built by a nameless shepherd stand watch over the trail.
Much of this trail is along the crest of the mountains, which is above timberline and very exposed in extreme weather conditions. The trail is marked with a combination of posts, cairns and blazes. Under most conditions it is reasonably easy to follow, but through much of the alpine area there are game trails that are more heavily used that the trail tread. Good maps, route finding skills, and some backcountry experience are recommended. This is remote country, but the views are spectacular.
Length: 40.0 miles. High difficulty
Trail Begins: Road 623.Trail Ends: Snowcrest Mountain.
Area Map: Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest Visitors Map .USGS Map1: Spur Mountain.Township 11S; Range 4W; Section 17
.To Antone Cabin: Follow Montana Route 287 west from Ennis to Twin Bridge. Make a left in Twin Bridges onto Montana Route 41 and drive to Dillon. Drive through Dillon and make a left on the Blacktail Deer Road, continue past Western Montana College and the Beaverhead National Forest Supervisor's Office. Follow the Blacktail Deer Creek Road about 40 miles to Antone Cabin. Check with the Madison Ranger District and the Interacency Visitor map of Southwestern Montana for directions to alternate starting and ending points.