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On the Trail: Crazy Mountains offer mystique, majesty across 120 miles of trails

Posted at 6:26 AM, Aug 25, 2023

BIG TIMBER — Stark against the skyline between the Yellowstone and Shields valleys, are the isolated and intimidating Crazy Mountains.

With 120 miles of hiking trails circling Crazy Peak, the eighth tallest mountain in Montana, the Crazies has lush forests, several lakes, and a fair share of local lore.

One long-standing myth, the mountains are named for a settler woman who wandered into the woods and went mad, her spirit haunting the woods for more than 100 years.

The truth is the Crazies have long been a sacred site to the Apsaalooke people and were frequently the site of vision quests, including those of the legendary Chief Plenty Coups.

Hikers on the trail, like the Sullivan family of Bozeman, have brushed up on the regional history.

“We learned that it gave the Crow ‘crazy medicine’ and was their strongest spiritual place," said Timmy Sullivan, who backpacked up at Blue Lake with his wife and four children—the family's last hurrah before the beginning of the school year.

“It’s a pretty good trail for kids," Sullivan said. "You can walk side-by-side and at least make it up to the first falls.”

Blue Lake, Granite Lake, and Twin Lakes are all popular destinations up the Big Timber Creek Trailhead and Big Timber resident Linda Iverson tries to take one of these hikes every year.

“I think it’s very accessible, it’s not too steep, I’ve taken my parents on it," Iverson said.

While steep trails and tall tales might make the Crazies a bit intimidating, hikers see the mountains as inviting.