By Felicia Ennis Explorebigsky.com Contributor
To celebrate summer in Montana, I gathered together friends for the second year of what I like to call ‘3 peaks, 3 days.’ During the adventure, we hiked to the top of three mountains in three consecutive days. This year the peaks—Livingston Peak, Elephant Head and Sacagawea Peak—were just a short drive from my home in Livingston.
For me, the highlights were being with friends and having great conversations, seeing fields of wildflowers, cooling off in a mountain stream, eating wildflowers and tasting their sweetness, skiing in my tennis shoes down a snow patch on Elephant Head, and sipping a cool beverage back at the truck.
Here are the stats, in case you want to give it a try:
Livingston Peak – 9,314 feet
The trail ascends through shady, forested terrain, and in and out of the Suce Creek drainage. Livingston Peak is home to wildflowers, falcons, moose and a bear or two. The hike takes about five hours round trip.
Mileage: Five miles one way
Getting there: Heading east out of Livingston, take Park Street to Swingely Road. Right before the pavement ends go right at forest service sign for Livingston Peak. The road after that is bumpy, winding and rocky, but was in better shape than I expected and took me about 30 minutes.
Did you know: According to peakery.com, Livingston Peak is the 406th highest mountain in Montana and the 5,347th highest in the U.S.
Elephant Head – 9,423 feet
The best part about hiking to the base of Elephant Head is the drive down Mission Creek to the trailhead. The scenery is stunning; however, the final quarter mile is narrow and bumpy—not recommended for low or really wide vehicles. The other best part of hiking up Elephant Head is the swimming hole. Small, deep, refreshing.
My friend Mike thought the peak was not only our destination, but also “the source of our world that day.” He must have had fun!
Mileage: Five miles one way
Getting there: Heading east out of Livingston, take Park Street to Swingely Road, go right on Bruffey Lane, and a right on the narrow road to the 63 Ranch, through two gates. Road ends at trailhead.
Did you know? According to peakery.com Elephant Head is the 359th highest mountain in Montana and the 5,067th highest in the U.S.
Sacajawea Peak – 9,665 feet
The hike from Fairy Lake to the summit of Sacagawea follows a short, steep and superb trail through stunning alpine terrain. I saw blue bells, thimbleberries, sunflowers, bear grass, violets, gentian, all in bloom. Be prepared for wind on the summit, and beware the washboards on the dirt access dirt road.
Mileage: 2.2 miles one way
Getting there: From downtown Bozeman’s Main Street, take North Rouse Ave., which turns into Bridger Canyon Drive (MT 86). Roughly 21 miles north on 86, go left onto Fairy Lake Road, which dead-ends at bathrooms and the Sacajawea trailhead.
Did you know? Sacajawea peak is 2,000 vertical feet above the lake.
Felicia Ennis was born and raised in Montana. She is owner and founder of Bella Treks, an adventure travel company specializing in development of once in a lifetime trips all over the world, including Patagonia, Antarctica and Montana. Call (406) 223-2595 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a complimentary 30-minute “Dream Destination” consult. bellatreks.com