Montana Outdoors

October 24, 2015

A visit to Mount Headley

Every year of so I hike up the trail to Mount Headley because of the beauty of the mountain and the surrounding country. It was the site of one of the first fire lookouts in Montana and sits at 7400 feet where it looks over many miles of forest in all directions. The four mile trail is rather gentle and it spreads the climb of 1400 feet evenly over its entire length. As a bonus, a short side trail at about the first mile point lets the hiker stand on a sheer, rocky cliff about 500 feet over the south end of a small cirque lake called Image Lake. I will never forget one morning a few years ago when I stood there watching the sun rise and listening to a wolf pack howling on the trail above me and down beside the lake. Mount Headley is an old friend.(The following photos were taken on October 15, 2015)

Mt Headley

Image Lake

Image Lake

From Mt Headley

From Mt Headley

From Mt Headley

From Mt Headley

From Mt Headley

From Mt Headley

From Mt Headley

Mt Headley

From Mt Headley

From Mt Headley

Mt Headley

Mt Headley

From Mt Headley

Mt Headley trail

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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 Roadlessland.org 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

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