North Fork Indian Creek, Tobacco Root Mountains, Montana

John Goering

Sep 30, 2014
This was another over-nighter my wife and I did last weekend. The destination was Oval and Triangle Lakes that sit in a bowl north of Hill Reservoir and also Bow Basin to the east of the reservoir on one of the branches of the North Fork of Indian Creek. We managed a 5:30 am exit from our place near Bozeman and were actually on the trail by about 7:45.

Black's Ford on the Madison River about 6:00 am.

A couple shots of the much over-used Indian Creek Road.


Trail head for FS trail 6015.

Remains of a couple cabins about a half mile up the North Fork.

North Fork Indian Creek.

FS 6015, about as over-used as the road.

Junction with FS Trail 6007 to Hill Reservoir. We were in about 2 miles at that point.

Hill Reservoir and an un-named peak.

This is where the fun really began-off trail, steep and VERY thick, not to mention all the mountain pine beetle killed whitebark pine, most of which is laying on the ground. There were a few small meadows.

Below the outlet of Oval Lake.

Oval Lake with Thompson Peak for background.

The plan was to camp at Oval but after looking for a tent site for 20 minutes and not finding one without a dead whitebark handing over it, we decided to head on up to Triangle Lake.

Oval Lake, with Noble Peak (center).

Camp at Triangle Lake. Granite Peak in distance. I'm guessing the bushwhacking was about a mile and a half or about 4.5 miles of packing to get to this spot.

This shot for Dr Ned.

Triangle Lake. Triangle is nestled right up against the bottom of the north side of Thompson Peak.


The next morning we got out of camp about 8:00, whacked our way back down to just above Hill Reservoir and the whacked some more heading up to Bow Basin. It was worth the effort.
Breaking into Bow Basin, Lonesome Peak in rear.

A few hundred yards farther into the bowl.


Another half mile and we ran into 3 nannies and kids. They didn't care too much about a proper photo opp.

The small lake at the top of the Bow Basin drainage. The weather wasn't exactly plesant by then-strong wind and probably temp in the high 40's. We ate lunch there but didn't linger long.

Looking down on Bow Basin on the way out.

We made it back to the trail head about 4:00 pm and stopped for a few photos of the flora and the Red Pine Mine about a mile below the trail head.



All in all, another well spent weekend-and for a third time this year NO BUGS.

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Last edited:


I walk
Jun 25, 2012
Over-used access road. Good one! Great TR John.

No camp spots because of white bark pine widowmakers hanging over the open spots... Makes me sad.

On the Dr. Ned targeted shot.. what is the logo on your lid and what is in your bandolier? :)


The mountains are calling and I must go
Mar 31, 2013
@John Goering Thank you! :twothumbs: That is the exact soft bound book I stole
froom my dad to read over and over again. Thanks for the memories

@Nick In my Highline to WFBF TR from last summer I made a big deal about
Patrick McManus books - read here. John and I share a similar taste in humor.

Still one of the best . . .

"Now, what I want to know," the deputy went on, "Is why are you two boys sitting out
here behind this shed smoking?"
"Shucks," I said, "if you'd been a little earlier, you'd have seen us while we were still on


John Goering

Sep 30, 2014
On the Dr. Ned targeted shot.. what is the logo on your lid and what is in your bandolier? :)

Logo is a Willys Jeep hat-absolutely NOT a Willys edition JK hat. While I really do like our Rubicon, I still like my flat fender Willys better.

Bandoleer contents are just to make your hand hurt. DoubleTap 320 grain flat nose hard cast 44 mag. And they most definitely make your hand hurt in an AirLite S&W 329 PD. Makes for the most punishing handgun I've ever shot and that includes some pretty hot loads in a S&W 500 mag. That area is g bear country. There was lots of tore up deadfall from last fall but I didn't see any fresh tracks-even in the mud around where all those elk calves were.
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