1:24,000 Scale USGS quadrangle maps of the Crazy Mountains (Crazy Woman Mountains, or Crazies) in Montana - sent to you on CD-ROM. $18.95
Are you looking for a map series that you can use to plan your hike in the Crazy Mountains? We can provide you a seamless map - on CD-ROM - that depicts a digital version of the well-known and accurate USGS paper maps. These maps are often used as reference maps for field or office work and define a specific piece of geography. The map show contours, cities, vegetation, lakes, rivers, trails, roads, railroads and other spatial features. The Crazy Mountains allure attracts many humans each year; Outdoor enthusiasts, hunters, photographers and researches alike. The cost is $18.95
The Crazy Mountains
The Crazy Mountains (the Crazies) are located just north of Big Timber - in South Central Montana. The range is a maze of almost vertical peaks, saw-tooth ridges, talus fields stemming from broken cliffs, and lush alpine cliques with snow-fed lakes. They include 23 volcanic glacier carved peaks above 10,000 feet- 15 of them unnamed. This range is located mainly in Sweet Grass, Park and Meagher counties. The range of elevation is from 5,590 to 11,214 feet - the tallest being Crazy peak. These majestic mountains rise just South of Musselshell River and extend about 30 miles south towards the Yellowstone River. The Highest point, Crazy Peak (11,214 ft/3,418 m.) can be climbed in a day (by experienced climbers). A breathtaking array of snow-covered peaks, alpine meadows, glaciers, alpine lakes, and tumbling streams makes the Crazy Mountain range one of the most spectacular ranges in the United States of America. This magnificent range appears to rise abruptly out of the wind-swept plains and is visible for hundreds of miles across the central Montana prairie.
Alpine meadows with coniferous Douglas firs accentuate the stream valleys and mountain sides. As you look at the peaks from the valleys or atop a ridge, you will see one of the largest exposed areas of igneous rock in the world. Popular recreation opportunities in the Crazy Mountains include: hiking, backpacking, mountaineering, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, fishing, and hunting.
While you can see the Crazy Mountains thrusting out of central Montana's prairie for 100 miles in any direction, one of the range's best assets, its amazing lakes and critters remain hidden from view. The Crazies are home to mountain goats, wild trout and many other small critters including bear. The Crazies are straddled by U.S. Highway 89 on the west side and U.S. Highway 191 on its east side. Owing to their eastern location on the edge of the prairie, they are also more arid than other mountains in Montana.
There is much debate over how the distinctive Crazy Mountains got their name. One theory suggests that the Native Americans called the mountains "Mad Mountains" for their steep grade, rugged peaks, and howling winds. Another theory takes a geological approach and points out that these peaks are made of younger, up trusted lava, and thus look different and "crazy" compared to the surrounding rock. Still another theory tells of a woman who went mad and took refuge in the mountains.
However the mountains surrounding Big Timber got their names, everyone agrees on their breathtaking contribution to the scenery. Popular motion pictures such as A River Runs Through it, and the Horse Whisperer were filmed in this area. The source of the name of the Crazy Mountains is unknown, but several ideas include:
The Crazies had been inhabited by Indians for over 11,500 years. The Shoshone and Crow had summer camped in the canyons and hunted the vast herds of deer, antelope, and elk. Sometime around 1857, Plenty Coups, the last great pre-reservation chief of the Crow Indians, realized a vision on top of Crazy Peak with which to guide his people. Between 1860 and 1880 the Indians gave way to trappers, traders, and settlers. The Crazies weren't named by the U.S. Government until the 1860s.
Yet, Many of the lakes in this range offer good fishing. Golden trout, brook trout (char), cutthroat trout and rainbow trout can all be found here. Rock Lake, which lies at the southern base of Conical Peak, is a popular place for both fishing and camping. It is also one of the easier hikes in the Crazy Mountains as it has a well-maintained trail that leads to it. The Crazy Mountains do not have an extensive trail network. Only one trail runs the length of the Crazy Mountains, with a small number of trails leading off it to a handful of trailheads down in the prairie below. The lack of trails keeps the Crazy Mountains very wild - virtually all of the lakes in the Crazy Mountains require off-trail hiking across rocky, open and steep terrain.
According to Frank B. Linderman, Chief Plenty Coups probably had numerous contacts with the Crazy Mountains throughout his life. Those mountains were located in Crow Country and some of the Crow summer camping sites were around these mountains. The greatest connection Chief Plenty Coups had with the Crazy Mountains was his vision quests. Plenty Coups’ most significant and important vision quest was on the peak of the Crazy Mountain. The vision quest that guided him throughout his life. Then a very young man Plenty Coups decided to seek his helper through a vision quest and chose the challenging Crazy Mountains, a foot two days journey. The Absaalooke dealt with these mountains with utmost respect. The whole mountains were named Awa’xaawiippiia and just the highest peak was named Crazy Mountain by the Absaalooke.
private landholders have a long history of restricting the public. The major
public access' are Cottonwood Road (FR 198) from the west and Big Timber
Canyon Road (FR 197) to the east. At the end of Big Timber Canyon Road is
Half Moon Campground which serves as a major public access trailhead to the
core of the Crazy Mountains. Parking is available at Half Moon Campground
and is free to the public. To get to Big Timber Canyon's Half Moon
Campground, Take US 191 north from I- 90's Big Timber Exits. Travel
approximately 11 miles north on 191 to Big Timber Canyon Road - a gravel
road maintained by the county- and turn left heading west towards the Crazy
Mountains. You will be able to see the mountains all along your travels to
Half Moon Campground. You stay on the gravel road for about 14 miles through
private land. View of Big Timber Canyon on the way to the Trailhead at Half
Keep going up the canyon- you will encounter a gate at a Dude Ranch which
you are allowed to go through and finally end up at Half Moon Campground. An
extensive 66 mile trail system within the Crazy mountains makes it among the
best hiking and adventure areas in the state of Montana.
The Crazy Mountains have served as the backdrop for much of Montana’s history. Events and trials which have characterized our perceptions of the west occurred in the very midst's of these craggy mountains. The western landscape and all its variety and sense of wide open spaces and majestic peaks carries an enormous emotional weight with Americans and people around the world. Dreams, aspirations and hopes that there was always going to be a better place than where we were.
Some of the Many...Hiking Trails in the Crazy Mountains
Blue Lake: Blue lake is just below Crazy Peak in the Crazy Mountains. Blue Lake, Druckmiller Lake and Granite Lake are nestled in a high basin below this high peak. Climbers use the lakes as base camps for an ascent of this magnificent mountain or to fish in the lakes or just relax for a few days. Expect to see others humans in this area - especially during nice summer, weekends. Many people hike the Crazies for a rare view of a mountain goat. In 2004 it was estimated there were over 200 goats in this region. Mountaineering includes rock climbing and peak scrambling. The formations seen in the Crazies evidence the heavy imprint of extensive glaciations which has gouged the peaks in several directions simultaneously.
Cottonwood Lake : From Hwy 89 turn
onto Cottonwood Creek Road, about ¼ mile north of Clyde Park. The road is
gravel. The drive to the trail head is about 15 miles. The first few miles
of trail are gently sloped. The trail is wide, and was at one time a logging
road, first bulldozed in the 1980s. You may notice signs of tree cuttings.
The sound of the creek fills the air off to the right. The trail starts to
ascend. Switchbacks just narrow enough to hike. Small cascading waterfalls
to the east. Trail levels off for a while, then ascends. Small cairns
strategically placed to help show the way across large sunken boulders.
Approach a small canyon with dark-colored rock. Just above the canyon is a
fairly level with a shallow lake. Continue to ascend to the lake. This is
a high alpine lake in the spectacular Crazy Mountains. From the trailhead
the first 2 miles of the hike are on the jeep road and are sublimely uphill
along Cottonwood Creek.
Shields Loop Road: The Shields River Loop is located in NW part of the Crazies and offers a variety of recreation opportunities. Access is gained by taking US highway 89 north through Wilsall, then turning onto Shields River Road.
South Fork Shields #265: This trail is located in the NW section of the Crazies. The trail begins in Section 30, T 5N, R 11E along the Shields River Road. It travels southwesterly past the Sunlight trailhead to Bald Ridge.
Grasshopper Trail #271: This trail is located between the Ibex Cabin and Cottonwood Trail #197. It is about 1.5 miles long and connects these two popular destinations. The trail has been difficult to find over the years and lacks signage. Proliferation of cows…
Trespass Trail #268. This trail is in the SW section of the crazies and begins at the Cottonwood trailhead. The first ½ mile follows a gated private/administrative use road. The trail is about 4.25 miles long and follows an easy grade through scenic meadows and forest. It is one of the two trails on the Livingston Ranger District that eventually leads to Campfire Lake.
Rock Creek Trail North #270: This trail is located in the Southern part of the Crazies and begins at the North Rock Creek trailhead in Section 15, T2N, R11E. The first 1.5 miles crosses private property while crossing from Little Rock to Rock Drainage. The trail follows this road another 1.5 miles into a private guest ranch which was at one time, the old Rock Creek Campground.(found on the 1951 Fairview Peak USGS quad). The trail continues north past the junction of #220 on its way to Rock Lake.
Smeller Lake Trail #220: This trail is located in the southern part of the Crazies and begins where it splits off form the Rock Creek trail. From there it heads east then north to Smeller Lake about 2.5 miles up the trail. This is a steep trail in sections. This lake is on private land.
Middle Fork Sweet Grass Trail #123: The trail begins at the junction with Sweet Grass trail #122 and runs past Moose Lake and Campfire Lake to the Livingston District divide. The trail accesses Trespass Creek and the Shields River area. The upper end of the trail and Campfire Lake have a great deal of summer use.
Peaks of the Crazy Mountains
My first trip into the Crazies was when I was a youngster. I remember standing at the base of Crazy Peak with my head craned back, seeking the early morning light glowing on the jagged peaks and rocks far above me, feeling subdued by an anonymous power that I didn’t quite understand. Perhaps spending time in the heart of this great range over the years has allowed me to understand this great place just a little more.
Mosaic View of Cottonwood Lake, July, 2004
Post Card sent in 1945 from Big Timber to Zumbrota, Minnesota (Mrs. Walter Grimson)
If you are looking for a map of the Crazy Mountains, we can send to you, on CD-ROM, a complete set of 1:24,000 Scale USGS quadrangle maps. The maps are seamless and stitched together for ease-of viewing.
View from Big Timber Canyon, February, 1992.
The cost is $18.95.
"Thanks for the map guys, it is great. I printed some maps on waterproof paper and they are perfect." Ted S.- Bozman, MT
"Downloading the free viewer was easy. Its a great application to view the maps you sent. We hiked in the Crazy Mountains and the maps let us plan our trip! thank you. Julie B. - Madison Wisconsin
"The price is right and so are the maps... less than what I paid for some lingerie for my wife. The maps are actually more sexy." Cal T. St Cloud Minnesota.
"Thanks for sending the CD-ROM so fast - The quad maps are wonderful. Its nice to see the entire area without any map seams. Its good to know there are trusting folks like you. Thanks!" Cally S. Chicago, IL
"You guys are quick. Thanks for the fast turn-around. Its nice to view this area as a seamless map as opposed to looking at a bunch of paper Topographic maps on the table. Thank you mucho!" Kim T. Boston, MA