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9 reasons to climb Lone Mountain this summer



By Derek Lennon EBS Contributor

When people think about Big Sky, Montana they immediately picture the iconic Lone Mountain. At 11,166 feet, Lone Mountain is one of the highest peaks in the Madison Range and it’s easily the most recognizable summit in Big Sky. Since you can see Lone Mountain from all over the region, it draws outdoor enthusiasts from near and far who want to climb it.

Lone Mountain is more than just a stunning pile of rocks. It’s also home to Big Sky Resort. During the winter season, the Lone Peak Tram whisks skiers and riders to the summit for snowy descents. In the summer, one of the best ways to get the true Lone Mountain experience is on the old heel-toe express.

Did you know that a well-established trail meanders its way through the forests and rocks all the way to the top of the peak? From the base, follow Moose Tracks to the top of the Swift Current Chair. From there the trail climbs up through the Bone Crusher ski run and then follows the rocky and exposed southeast ridge all the way to 11,166 feet.

For some people, climbing Lone Mountain is a wild adventure and for others it’s a typical training day in the mountains. Regardless of the reason you choose to climb Lone Mountain, it’s an experience of a lifetime. The views of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem are astounding—just don’t forget to bring your camera!

Here are nine reasons why you should climb Big Sky’s Lone Mountain this summer: 

  • physical and mental challenge
  • views from the top are mind-blowing
  • experience the size of the mountains
  • push your limits
  • make friends
  • bragging rights
  • fun way to spend a day outside
  • train for the Rut Mountain Runs
  • because it’s there

Everyone has their own reasons for climbing to the top of Lone Mountain. It’s an activity that will appeal to both locals and visitors alike. Of course, if climbing is not your thing, don’t worry. Anyone can enjoy the views from the top of Lone Mountain when they sign up for Big Sky Resort’s Lone Peak Expedition.

People climb Lone Mountain regularly. Depending on your fitness, it may take a few hours or an entire day. The climb can be done safely with proper mountain knowledge and a bit of common sense.

Before you go, ask around for current conditions, check the weather, and be willing to turn around if the climb pushes your comfort zone. Always bring the gear you need to stay safe (sunscreen, water, bear spray, etc.).

If you climb Lone Mountain this summer, take photos and share them on social media with #visitbigsky. We always love to see the adventures people have in Big Sky’s backyard!

Derek Lennon is a skier and writer who lives, works and plays in the mountains of the world. He is based in Big Sky, Montana, where he lives with his wife Mia and two dogs.

A version of this story was originally published on the Visit Big Sky blog at Read more interesting content about the area on Visit Big Sky’s blog at

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