Hike to Bomber Mountain

Details

Distance

22.8 miles

Elevation Gain

3000 ft

Route Type

Out-and-Back

Added by Isaac Parsons

Find and explore the wreckage of a World War II B-17 Bomber that crashed on the rocky ridge near Cloud Peak.

Starting at West Tensleep Lake Trailhead is the best place to begin the trek up to Bomber Mountain. It is a 6.5 mile hike up to Mistymoon Lake following trail #63. It is about 1,100 foot elevation gain in the 6.5 miles, and the hike is very nice going in and out of the trees so you can get some shaded areas along the way which is nice during the heat of the summer. 

Mistymoon Lake is a great place to camp and even set up basecamp to make the hike up to Bomber Mountain more simple and achievable. 

To get to Bomber Mountain from Mistymoon you will need to take trail #38, which at the south end of mistymoon lake there is a fork in the trail. Trail #38 heads off to the east on an uphill jaunt but it is not too difficult or strenuous. Once you get to Fortress Lakes and Gunboat Lakes the trail will level off for the most part. It is a 2.1 mile hike up to Florence lake which will be on the north side of the trail and this is where there will be a memorial plaque placed for the airmen that lost their lives in the crash of their B-17 bomber in 1945. 

From the plaque at the southeastern end of Florence Lake you will need to follow the cairns (rocks stacked in piles) along the eastern edge of the lake. When looking to the north you will see Bomber Mountain, the plane wreckage is in the saddle of the ridge. Sometimes depending on the daylight you can see the sunlight glinting off of the exposed sheet metal and pieces of the plane. While looking up at the ridge you will see a large section of rock that is darker gray than the surrounding rock, the easiest route is above this section as it will be more gradual climb. Follow the cairns up the hillside, you will need to cross creek/waterfall. The majority of the wreckage is at the top of the ridge but the wreckage is strewn all along the hill for a couple hundred yards. The mountainside is just a massive boulder field so there is a lot of rock scrambling on the way. It is about a 3/4 of a mile hike to the beginning of the wreckage from trail 38.

Plan on spending a while up exploring the wreckage, there are some very large pieces and it is a great view of the surrounding Bighorn mountains. Also the weather can change quickly so be prepared, but it is also a good idea to try to get up the mountain earlier in the day and be off or heading down by early afternoon, storms can blow in in the blink of an eye. 

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We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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