Washboard Reef

Choteau, Montana 59422

Washboard Reef

Washboard Reef Professional Review and Guide

"This trail provides an alternate and lesser-known route to the north end of the Sun River Basin. Because it crosses steep and unstable slopes, it is not recommended for horse parties. The ascent is steady, and the trail zigzags upward at frequent intervals to avoid washouts along the creek. As the path gains elevation, subalpine fir comes to dominate the forest, and avalanche slopes cut broad openings through the timber. This path climbs aggressively through the thinning timber.

The trees ultimately part to reveal sheer cliffs: From this point, the path seems bound for a low saddle to the south. Instead, it winds steeply up a wooded spur, heading over one of the highest points on Washboard Reef. The spur leads to a level pad on the summit, and here the trail enters the Bob Marshall Wilderness. Ever-expanding views feature the twin summits of Mount Baldy to the south as well as the rounded west slope of Mount Wright to the north. The path then makes a brutal final climb to the summit, where travelers will be rewarded with sweeping views in all directions. Highlights include the sheer cliffs of Bowl Mountain to the north, as well as a broad sweep of the North Wall rising beyond the North Fork of the Sun."

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Trail Information

Nearby City
2,304 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Skill Level
Day hike or backpack
Best July through September
5,700 feet
Trailhead Elevation
7,934 feet
Top Elevation
Rocky Mountain Ranger District, Lewis and Clark National Forest, Bob Marshall Wilderness
Local Contacts
USGS Mount Wright, Porphyry Reef
Local Maps