Tobacco Root Mountains, Indian Creek

John Goering

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Indian Creek lies in between Wisconsin Creek (on the west) and Mill Creek (east) on the southwest side of the Roots. Access here is through Sheridan, Montana on Indian Creek Road that makes a couple of zig zags north of town before heading northeast up the drainage. From Sheridan, it is about 4 miles before the road turns to a Jeep trail and then approximately 4 additional miles to the hiking trail head. Rossiter Lake lies in a large cirque with Granite Peak on the north and Noble Peak/Mustard Pass to the west. From the trail head to the lake is close to 4 miles on FS Trail 6015. FS 6015 continues about 2.5 miles through Mustard Pass to its junction with FS Road (Jeep trail) 8300 in Noble Fork.

I didn't get any photos of the trail on this trip. Photo from a little above Rossiter Lake looking south. Peak is un-named and just west of Thompson Peak.
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We set up camp on a small bench southeast of the lake.
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Rossiter Lake and Granite Peak. There is a lot of avalanche debris here and the lake has a lot of tannin content. No fish. This is the only lake in the Roots I have observed this.
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Another view down Indian Creek. FS Trail 6007 to Hill Reservoir, Taylor Lake and Bow Basin proceeds up the draninge just off the right of the limb.
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Cloudrest Peak with Mustard Pass to right.
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Due to lack of fish, we bailed early the second morning. We dropped the packs about a mile below Rossiter and off-trailed a bit until we intersected FS 6007 and hiked to Hill Reservoir/Taylor Lake.

Hill Reservoir with Bow Basin behind. There hasn't been any water stored here for at least 5 years and suspect it was another victim of the up-graded Federal dam safety regulations. Need to do some more exploring in Bow Basin----
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Taylor Lake-probably should be more appropriately named Taylor Swamp.
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And a few artifacts from I assume the building of the reservoir dam. There are a few remains of a cabin.
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Going to try to get in here again in 2015. Perhaps camp at the trail head and make a couple day hikes, one to Bow Basin and the other up South Fork past Thompson Reservoir to revisit Gneiss Lake.

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So many mountains to your disposal. What a great feeling that must be!
 
Enjoyed your report again John. Do grizzly bears inhabit the Tobacco Roots?
 
Do grizzly bears inhabit the Tobacco Roots?
Absolutely. My wife and I along with all our friends that visit those mountains have all seen them. My best guess is that they have saturated all the available habitat-just like Yellowstone. We don't go there without at least bear spray although as was commented upon elsewhere on the site, far more apt to die in a car wreck getting there.
 
John Goering - I finished reading Walking with the Wild Wind a few months ago where the author was backpacking a loop around the wilderness areas in southwestern Montana. He actually had to split it up into two trips due to a death in the family, but he mentioned the Tobacco Roots as part of his big loop. I was following him on my Forest Service Maps as he hiked his route so I had a general idea where the Tobacco Roots were located but your trip reports on the area have really brought them to life for me. I've got them on my bucket list now, though it will be a few years before I can make it up there to see them.
 
I've got them on my bucket list now, though it will be a few years before I can make it up there to see them.

Less than a 100 miles father than Yellowstone----- When I was into skiing, we made a lot of weekend trips from here to SLC to ski Alta and Snowbird. Just say'en-------

But if I were to do a loop in SW Montana, I would be spending more time in the Lee Metcalf. My favorite places there are the Spanish Peaks-especially Diamond Lake- and the Taylor/Hilgard area. But it's been awhile since I did a real trip in the LM. Seems every time we get a week for a trip scheduled, the Beartooth's win. However, that may change when my wife retires this summer.
 
Less than a 100 miles father than Yellowstone----- When I was into skiing, we made a lot of weekend trips from here to SLC to ski Alta and Snowbird. Just say'en-------

But if I were to do a loop in SW Montana, I would be spending more time in the Lee Metcalf. My favorite places there are the Spanish Peaks-especially Diamond Lake- and the Taylor/Hilgard area. But it's been awhile since I did a real trip in the LM. Seems every time we get a week for a trip scheduled, the Beartooth's win. However, that may change when my wife retires this summer.

Well John, if you make it down this way again let me know and I'll buy you a beer or your drink of choice.

The author actually begins and ends his trip in the Lee Metcalf Wilderness. He talks about the Spanish Peaks. His descriptions portrait it as a beautiful area.

It sounds like you and your wife will have plenty of time in a few more months to explore or re-visit all the wonderful country up in Montana.
 
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