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Teton County, Montana

Hike toward Ear Mountain on the Rocky Mountain Front

10 Miles Total - Out-and-Back Trail

Originally added by Kristi Teplitz

Located on the east side of the Sawtooth range, this unique summit is strenuous, but worth it.

Ear Mountain's trailhead is located about 125 miles north of Helena. Besides being a hefty hike, Ear Mountain's unique shape draws attention to it every year. It has a flat top while also having sheer cliffs on either side. It sticks out from the main walls on the Rocky Mountain Front, and if you look at the mountain from above, it looks like it's an ear laying on its side. 

There are two main routes to summit Ear Mountain: the Northeast Shoulder Route and the East-South-West Face Traverse. 

The Northeast Shoulder route is the most direct route. It is about 10 miles roundtrip, and you gain about 3,500 feet, which means it's steep! The last bit of the climb is steep and decently exposed, so it is not for the faint of heart.

The East-South-West Face Traverse is about a half a mile longer than the Northeast Shoulder route, and it is less exposed, but because you're walking across more scree fields, Summit Post suggests this route may be more tiresome of the two. 

Either route you take will reward you with unique views of endless plains to the east, and vast mountains to the west. 

Here are some helpful links when planning this trip:

Summit Post

Big Sky Walker

Note: Per Summit Post, Ear Peak is located in the Mountain Wildlife Management Area, which is closed December 1-May 15 every year. Ear Mountain is also next to the Ear Mountain Outstanding Natural Area (BLM) and this area is closed every year from December 15-July 15, so the route you chose to climb may have an effect on what time of year you climb it. 

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Nestled between the Big Belt and Elkhorn Mountains, the Helena Valley offers activities like hiking, biking, climbing, and fishing - just to name a few. Surrounded by three lakes and a blue-ribbon trout fishery, Helena is sure to thrill even the most dedicated of outdoor enthusiasts.

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