Summit Blacktooth Mountain

Rate this Adventure Little Goose Trailhead

Distance

24 Miles

Elevation Gain

4000 Feet

Activities

Camping, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking

Skill

Advanced

Season

Summer

Type

Out-and-Back

Forest
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildlife

Blacktooth Mountain is the second tallest peak in the Bighorn Mountain range and much more challenging than the tallest, Cloud Peak, so in my opinion it is more rewarding.

To get to the Little Goose Trailhead make sure you have a vehicle capable of traveling over very rough terrain and big rocks and cross 3 creeks, one of which is about 50 feet wide and 2 feet deep. Four-wheel drive would be strongly recommended.  From the Little Goose Trailhead you will need to hike to Highland Lake which is about 7 miles or so.  On the way you will come across Highland Park and have wonderful view of Blacktooth, Mt. Woolsey, Penrose Peak, and Sawtooth Ridge. Take note, you will later follow the valley below the Sawtooth Ridge where you will hike through later. 

To summit Blacktooth you can use Highland Lake as a basecamp, or continue on for about another 1.5 miles to Princess Falls.

From Highland Lake you will need to follow trail #36 which is not very well marked but it will be heading south. From Highland Lake it is about 1.5 miles to Princess Falls mostly downhill. There is a fork in the trail that is hard to see if you are not paying attention, the fork to the right heads more west and that will take you to Spear lake, to get to Princess Falls continue down the hill on the left fork. As you are going you will catch glimpses of the Princess Falls and begin to hear the roar of the falls. 

Once you arrive at the falls you will find a nice flat open meadow making a great place to set up basecamp, and stay the night before summitting  Blacktooth the next day. That is what we did. We left our tent and 2 of our 3 packs behind for the hike to the peak of Blacktooth, and took turns carrying the one pack up and back from Blacktooth. 

To get to Blacktooth, there is an unmarked trail to the west of the falls that runs parallel to the falls and the river coming from the Sawtooth lakes. The trail follows the lakes south and progressively uphill, it is obviously steep near the falls, but once you reach the top of the falls it is more of a slight uphill. You will follow the 10 Sawtooth Lakes, you could camp near some of the lower lakes if you want to be closer to the base of the mountian for an earlier summit up Blacktooth. The trail slowly gets less and less worn as you leave the grasses and get into the rock and boulder fields, and you will be walking directly toward Innominate and Mt. Woolsey as you travel through the Sawtooth valley stay to the west side of the lakes and creek. 

As you walk through the valley you will not be able to see Blacktooth until you get to the 10th lake or so, then you will see it towering around the corner, to the west. This is where a lot of your vertical climb comes in.  As you get closer you will see a snow ramp that angles across the mountainside, where the rock is a different shade, darker, that is the best way to go up the mountain. It is steep grade and could be devastating if you fall, but as long as you take your time and make sure to have good footing you will be fine. At one point there is a rock bolt anchor and sling around a boulder where you do need to climb/scramble but it is only a 8 or 9 foot section. As you are climbing you will notice there is a slight path worn where people commonly walk follow that to the peak. There are actually 2 peaks for Blacktooth about 100 yards apart, the west one is easier, and is the main one most people summit. At the top of the west peak there is an ammo can with a notebook inside, so you can sign your name and write a little note and join the elite that have also climbed Balcktooth. 

When climbing do be aware of the weather, but also be ware of rockslides and rockfall. When we climbed it we heard a rockslide behind us and it was quite unnerving.  Have fun and be safe.

To get another persons perspective and the post we used to climb Blacktooth click here. 

And remember to practice Leave No Trace. 

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations.

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Distance

24 Miles

Elevation Gain

4000 Feet

Activities

Camping, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking

Skill

Advanced

Season

Summer

Type

Out-and-Back

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Backpack to Highland Lake

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Backpack to Willow Lake in the Cloud Peak Wilderness

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Camp at Sitting Bull Campground

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