“Get yourself deep into the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness to the base of Mount Cowan.”
— samh Haraldson
Cave · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife
A long and relatively low-elevation hike that allows hikers to hit the trail before the snow in the high country has melted out.
Drive through cattle country the edge of the Forest to the West Fork Boulder River Road deep into the heart of the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness until the road ends at the trailhead. From here set off for as much or as little of the 13+ miles you can walk on this trail which ultimately dead ends in the basin below the impressive Mount Cowan.
The trail meanders through small, open meadows and into and out of large, old stands of conifers. Large boulders frame the sides of the trails and the same can be found down in the River making for many impressive and soothing sounding rapids. The trail gains very minimal elevation along its first 10+ miles and it's not until reaching the headwaters that any strenuous hiking really gets underway.
Options to make it this a more epic hike could include heading up and over Mill Creek Pass
into the Mill Creek drainage, but that must be saved for a time when the high country is snow-free. The overall length of this valley will allow for great solitude especially if the intrepid hiker is willing to get their feet (and knees and maybe thighs!) wet with a crossing of the river to the opposite, seldom-visited side.