Montana Outdoors

July 26, 2010

Mt Headley (1)

Four miles just about due North of Cabin Lake, 1,500 feet higher and also in the Cube Iron-Silcox roadless area is a peak called Mt Headley, upon which, in 1928, the Forest Service built a cupola style lookout cabin. The peak can be accessed from Cabin lake by trail 450 or from another trail that starts at Vermillion Pass.

On Monday, July twelfth my friend and I hiked up to the peak of Mt Headly not on trail 450 from Cabin Lake, but on trail 528 from its trail head at Vermillion Pass near the head of Graves Creek. This trail climbs a little over 1,500 feet over its four miles, but unlike the Cabin Lake trail which had a bunch of switchbacks, trail 528 stays at a fairly steady incline all of the way to the top. I’m not sure which is better.

A note about roadless areas: Roadless areas are natural areas without roads, but the term is more specific than that. It refers to a group of National Forest lands that are technically called “Inventoried Roadless Areas”. These areas include approximately 60 million acres of land, most of which is in the western US, Puerto Rico and Alaska. Many of the roadless areas in the lower 48 states are plots of land that are immediately adjacent to wilderness areas, parks and other protected lands. There is an excellent website called that is full of information on all of the areas, including great maps of them. Because these areas are part of our National Forests, they are owned, not by the states in which they exist, but by all of the citizens of our country. They are under constant attack by people and companies who are not only willing, but eager to destroy their beauty to make a little money. It will take not just those of us who live near them, but folks from all over the country who want to retain natural wild areas like them to take the steps necessary to protect them. It’s a continual fight. I hope that when folks see these glimpses into those beautiful areas they will want to help preserve and protect them as much as possible.

Over a number of days I will post photos of the Mt Headley area and trail 528 much as I did with the trip to Cabin Lake.

Scene to the north of Vermilion PassScene to the north of Vermillion Pass

Scene to the north of Vermilion PassScene to the north of Vermillion Pass

Vermillion Peak from Vermillion PassVermillion Peak viewed from Vermillion Pass

A little past a mile up trail 528 there is a beautiful basin to the north which contains Image Lake and a few dozen yards off the trail is a wonderful cliff from which it can be viewed.

Basin containing Image Lake

Basin containing Image Lake

Image Lake scene

Image Lake scene

Image Lake scene

Image Lake scene



  1. Bring on the photos, and the information. I for one, love to read about places like this.
    What is that purple stuff in the last shot?


    Comment by sandy — July 26, 2010 @ 3:19 pm

    • That’s Shrubby Penstemon (Penstemon fruticosus). This time of year it’s just about everywhere in the higher elevaitions.


      Comment by montucky — July 26, 2010 @ 4:35 pm

  2. Just truly spectacular – the scenery as well as your photographs!


    Comment by wildlifewatcher — July 26, 2010 @ 5:46 pm

    • Thanks! This is another area that is quite photogenic. Once you get up there with a camera it’s hard to go wrong.


      Comment by montucky — July 26, 2010 @ 6:16 pm

  3. gorgeous and worth saving; maybe one day everyone can see them, if they are still there to be seen in their pristine beauty


    Comment by silken — July 26, 2010 @ 8:36 pm

    • Yes, I certainly want to see them preserved for those who will seek them out, and also for the biodiversity that they contain which I think is vital to the planet’s health.


      Comment by montucky — July 26, 2010 @ 10:40 pm

  4. What lovely places you get to visit… thanks so much for sharing them.


    Comment by Stacey Dawn — July 26, 2010 @ 10:06 pm

    • There are still many such places left Stacey, but in my lifetime I have seen many destroyed as well. I think a line has to be drawn here somewhere or they will all be gone.


      Comment by montucky — July 26, 2010 @ 10:42 pm

  5. wow šŸ™‚ now thats a scenery


    Comment by gnaumov — July 27, 2010 @ 2:10 am

  6. My gracious! These are such lovely scenic shots! I love them all with the forever skies with clouds that goes on for miles and the mountains so majestic. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful… and must be such an awesome inspiration hiking there.


    Comment by Anna — July 27, 2010 @ 10:47 am

    • Yes Anna, it is awesome just being in that country. When an opening opens up in the trees along a high trail it’s time to just sit for awhile and enjoy seeing a lot of country.


      Comment by montucky — July 27, 2010 @ 8:26 pm

  7. Wow, these are fabulous! Any idea why the name ‘Vermillion’? Is it after some plants or trees there, or is the soil/rock red or something?


    Comment by absurdoldbird — July 27, 2010 @ 6:01 pm

    • I don’t have any history about the name, but I suspect it came from a person of that name because there are no geological features that suggest it. There is little written history of this area available. I have a couple of books written by local people and they contain a fair amount of historical information, but they are not indexed.


      Comment by montucky — July 27, 2010 @ 8:34 pm

  8. You sure get around and it’s all just gorgeous!


    Comment by Candace — July 28, 2010 @ 9:06 am

    • There is still so much to see here, Candace. I won’t get around to all of it in this lifetime, but maybe later…


      Comment by montucky — July 28, 2010 @ 8:58 pm

  9. I love the view of the lake!


    Comment by kateri — July 31, 2010 @ 8:22 pm

    • I think it’s pretty too. There are quite a number of small lakes throughout this roadless area. For those who travel the trails, they are a source of water although in many cases one has to work for it!


      Comment by montucky — July 31, 2010 @ 8:43 pm

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