This spring I planned a hike to Indian Ridge Trail, located north of the 320 Guest Ranch. I had hiked it probably eight years ago and remembered only a few details about the trek. As I was planning the hike, I searched the internet for information about the trail. I found information about the some trails in the Big Sky area, mostly the heavy traveled trails though. It seemed that the less traveled hiking trails weren’t written about or had little details or pictures available, go figure! For the remaining hiking season, I will blog about these obscure trails. My hope is to aid fellow hikers and guests to explore the beautiful and less trodden trails. So let’s start where it all began at Indian Ridge Trailhead.
Indian Ridge Trail, Hwy 191-9 miles out and back.
I had a wild hair to re-hike Indian Ridge Trail this spring. I knew the hike was up hill most of the way but couldn’t remember how far it was and how hard it was. I talked my nephew into joining me on this trek. He was visiting from the Midwest and looked forward to a hike. Also hiking was my four legged friend Fredo. We started the hike at ten in the morning with another car parked at the trailhead. The hike started up hill, then into the woods. We walked along the draw of the drainage basin for about a half mile, allowing my dog to play in the water and drink some too (Photo 1). As we walked on, the switch backs began. The switch backs were of the longer version not being too steep but I still took a break here and there to catch my breath (Photo 2). As we gained elevation on the switch backs we walked into a beautiful bloom of wild flowers and great views of Garnett Mtn (Photo 3). After about an hour we started to ascend quite high almost level to adjacent ridges and kept wondering and saying aloud to each other if we were close to the top yet (Photo 4). We kept on hiking with each turn in the trail looking like it was the top. After another half an hour of walking we took a break and enjoyed the view. Of course we both forgot to wear watches or bring a cell phone so we weren’t sure how long we had been hiking or how far we had gone. We discussed turning back as it seemed we just kept on walking uphill with no end in sight. We decided to suck it up and keeping going as I remembered there was a large open field at the top of the ridge. We trekked on, walking in the woods and looking for the top of the ridge. We finally came out of the woods and it flattened out a little with the trail following the edge of a steep meadow. As we walked, there was still snow present and sticking to the trail. My nephew loved seeing the snow and didn’t mind venturing on as we were not heading up hill anymore. We finally could see the meadow I remembered a few turns ahead on the trail. Of course a storm was blowing in with rain clouds and the snow was slick and difficult to walk in (Photo 5 &6). We decided to turn back, after almost summiting the ridge and glad we did because the storm blew in and it got nasty. The walk back down was of course faster than the way up and we cruised through all the switch back sections. When we got to the car, the clock said it was 2 p.m. and it had been four hours that we were hiking. I would guess it was a nine mile out and back for us. Needless to say we ate a big meal and loved every bite after that hike. Next week Albino Lake.