Granite Peak - Highest in Montana

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Granite Peak - Highest in Montana

Granite Peak is the highest point in Montana at 12,799 feet, or 3901 meters. Resembling a huge, jagged meat cleaver, this rugged and remote peak has a four billion year old history and a brutal beauty.

  • At 12,799 feet, Granite Peak is the highest point in Montana.
  • Located 20 miles west of Red Lodge in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness of Custer National Forest
  • Only accessible between July and September after the snowmelt.
  • Trailheads at West Rosebud and East Rosebud.
  • Recommended for only experienced climbers. 

Overview

Located in the heart of the Beartooth Mountains, Granite Peak is famous for being the tallest peak in Montana. Towering at 12,799 feet above sea-level, this is one of the most challenging summits of the lower 48 states. The trails to the peak range in distance from 21 to 25 miles and should only be ventured by experienced and fit climbers.

Location/Directions

Granite Peak Montana is part of the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, located in the Custer National Forest 20 miles west of Red Lodge. There are two trailheads leading to the peak, East Rosebud and West Rosebud.

To access the East Rosebud Trailhead, just off Highway 78 drive through Roscoe, onto the East Rosebud Lake Road. After the bridge over East Rosebud Creek, take a right at the fork in the road and follow it 7.5 miles. There will be a campground with a bathroom and parking at this trailhead.

To access the West Rosebud Trailhead, turn west towards Fishtail, approximately 2 miles south of Absarokee. When through Fishtail, drive 1 mile southwest and turn south onto West Rosebud Road. Two miles past the turn, you will see a sign for West Rosebud Lake, turn left. Follow this road 14 miles to the West Rosebud Trailhead. There are toilet facilities and parking at this trailhead.

Hours/Seasons

Montana Granite Peak is only accessible during late June/July through September due to snowpack and snowfall. It is also important to note that during these months, afternoon thunderstorms tend to approach quickly.

Climbing

These trails are between 21 to 25 miles, with steep ridges and near vertical climbs. The views however, are worth the work. While climbing to Granite Peak in Montana, hikers and mountaineers are likely to see breath-taking views of Montana’s Big Sky country, as well as various wildlife along the trail.

It is important to note the cautions of this climb—it is extremely difficult and should only be carried out by experienced hikers who are physically fit.

Base Camp
Just west of Tempest Mountain is the base camp area for most hikers. Here, there are a few relatively flat areas, suitable for a good-night’s sleep before the summit to Granite Peak.

West Rosebud Trail
Hike past Mystic Lake to a trial that begins just past the bridge leading over Huckleberry Creek. This trail leads to past Huckleberry Lake to a saddle between Tempest Mountain and Granite Peak, near Avalanche Lake.

East Rosebud Trail
This route switch-backs (26 times) across fields of boulders and meadows, over the Froze-to-Death Plateau. This plateau is very open, exposing climbers to any bad weather that may come their way. The climb across Froze-to-Death Plateau will lead to Tempest Mountain.

Contact—Call before you climb!

Beartooth Ranger Station
6811 Highway 212 South
Red Lodge, MT 59068
Tel: (406)446-2103
Granite Peak Climbing Information

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