Hill County Highpoint Trip Report

Date: August 2, 2006
Author: Dick Johnson

From US Highway 2 in Havre, I drove south on paved Beaver Creek Road (Road 234 in DeLorme Atlas and Montana state highway map) 29.0 miles by my odometer, turned right on the West Fork Road (also paved) for 1.2 miles, then left on Eagle Creek Road (narrow, dirt) for 1.3 miles to the road summit at 5,160+ feet, and parked near an open gate through a fence (unsigned) on the east side of the road. This is the same route Bob Packard reported in 2002, except I parked at the summit (saddle), not a quarter mile beyond it.

As the crow flies, the peak is about 1.1 miles due east from the saddle, with a rise of 1800 feet in that distance; thus rather steep. In truth, the primary rise is even steeper. That is, the first portion is more moderate through timber and small meadow openings leading to the base of steep rock slides that lead to the summit. This latter portion rises about 1000 feet in 1/3 mile. I pretty much followed the Indian Reservation fence line east as I hiked the lower portion, then veered right (south) a bit as I ascended the slide area so as to hit the south slope of the summit ridge, and then ascend this gentler slope north to the top (6,916 feet). In doing so I encountered and used portions of what were probably animal trails the made the ascent easier.

The route looked steep and difficult when viewed from a distance or from below but I found that though steep it was less difficult than it looked. Round trip took 3 hours, including some exploring on the way down.

That "exploring" was mostly following what were apparently old logging roads, which had I followed when I was driving, would have taken me 400 to 500 feet higher before hiking. Anyone wishing to do this can simply drive through the open gate mentioned earlier and follow the dirt road that serpentines through forest toward the base of the peak.

The "visitor center" referred to by Packard was not open when I drove the Beaver Creek Road, perhaps because I passed it midweek; I did not encounter Indians anywhere along the way, nor did I encounter No Trespassing signs anywhere.

Some might be interested in another route I learned about after my trip. It is in "The Hiker's Guide to Montana" by Bill Schneider (Second edition, 1995, Falcon Press, Billings and Helena, MT). It says (p. 222) that there is a trail (but "poorly maintained") from Teepee Campground to the summit. Based on the map in the book, that campground is at or near where I turned off on Eagle Creek Road. The book says the distance is 1.5 miles (each way) with a climb of 2,200 feet. That's a greater climb than my route but has the advantage of a trail, thus presumably not all the backward slippage and danger of a turned ankle on a rockslide.