West Crazy Mountains

The west side of the Crazy Mountains borders the Shields River Valley. This view looks south along the mountain range.

The newly constructed Porcupine Ibex Trail on the west side of the Crazy Mountains will open to the public on Oct. 11, in time for the Montana Youth Hunt and general season.

The route, located north of Livingston, required the building of 2.7 miles of new trail to connect the Porcupine Cabin Trailhead to the North Fork Elk Creek Trail No. 195.

The trail was built following negotiations with adjoining landowners who had blocked and posted no trespassing signs on an older forest route that crossed their private land. A coalition of conservation groups filed a lawsuit to halt the new trail, but a judge denied their claims.

The outdoor groups had criticized the new trail, saying it was created without public involvement, required a steeper trail and unnecessarily replaced a route to which the Forest Service already had historical access. They also said the trail was proposed without proper environmental review.

The new section of trail was constructed this summer and will now be open to foot, horse, and mountain bikes. The route connects Elk Creek and Trespass Creek drainages and provides access to Campfire Lake. The Forest Service no longer asserts a claim to a trail depicted in previous visitor maps as the Porcupine Lowline Trail. The Porcupine Lowline Trail will not be depicted in forest future maps.

“We are excited to have completed the first phase of this trail relocation giving recreationists and hunters access into the Elk Creek drainage this fall," said Custer Gallatin Forest supervisor Mary Erickson said. "Providing long-term secured access into this portion of the Crazy Mountains is a significant accomplishment and benefit to the public. We look forward to the completion of the trail that will provide connectivity between the Porcupine and Ibex cabins. This project not only provides a great recreation opportunity but also demonstrates what is possible when people work together to find common solutions.”

The announcement comes days after the forest announced a proposed land swap at the base of the southern end of the Crazy Mountains. Comments are being taken on the project.

For more information about trail construction please call the Yellowstone Ranger District at 406-222-1892.

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