“Access to a major geological divide of the Absaroka Beartooths.”
— samh Haraldson
Birding · Cave · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife
The East Fork of Mill Creek is a 10+ mile long drainage that surmounts a major north/south geological divide in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Complex.
Need to Know
In early Spring creek crossings in this zone can be difficult due to high water.
The East Fork of Mill Creek is a gem of a point of access. From the raging creek along the drive to the trailhead to the multiple trails it connects, to the depth into the Wilderness it gets a hiker, all of these add up to quality backcountry hiking.
The trail terminates atop Silver Pass which is just South of the uniquely multi-faceted hydrologic divide at Boulder Mountain and provides access into the heart of the A/B Wilderness as well as access to short, steep trails leading to Elbow Lake, Mill Creek Pass
, Anderson Ridge, and Pyramid Mountain.
The swiftly flowing Mill Creek and its tributaries can provide access issues in Spring and early Summer but with care this journey can be undertaken. One point of interest is the Crystal Cave
located just off this trail up the side drainage to Mill Creek Pass
The trailhead is unassuming and the hiking starts out like any number of other trails in SW Montana. Steep mountain walls tower above the valley floor where hikers hopscotch between sections of thick trees and open meadows. The trail gains elevation at an acceptable rate and tops out at its high point far enough along to not take anyone by surprise.
Camping along its length is plentiful with areas both close to the trailhead as well as very deep into the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness complex. Options to create loop routes are plenty, but the car shuttling will require a good chunk of a day, so out-and-back hiking is probably more reasonable.