Trapper Peak – Highest Summit in the Bitterroot Mountains

Trapper Peak, sitting at 10,157 feet, is the highest of the Bitterroot Mountains of Montana. This summit is probably the most well-known mountain in the Bitterroot Mountains, if for no other reason, simply because it has the highest summit.

Dominating Darby, Montana, Trapper Peak is accessed via the West Fork of Bitterroot River, and, in our case, the Baker Lake trailhead. Now, get ready to an ascent as the first section to Baker Point is steep and rocky, but it does level out somewhat until you reach Baker Lake.

Total distance: 8.07 mi
Max elevation: 10194 ft

Trailhead to Baker Lake

Brilliant sun before the heat hit

Baker Vista – only 300 feet up, 3000 left to go

Lupine and beargrass

The beargrass bloom this year is epic

Approaching Baker lake

Baker Creek flowing in sheets over granite

Most unique stream crossing

Baker Creek leaving the well-named Baker Lake

Baker Lake with the “false” summit of Trapper Peak

Baker Lake afternoon

Baker Ridge to just below the summit

Just before the lake turn left and cross the creek. There is a steep use trail up the slopes to the ridgetop. From there go west, mostly cross-country in a fairly open forest. Eventually, you will find a faint user trail that leads up to a saddle between the “true” and eastern peak. The trail goes past a small peak of 9928 feet then crosses talus slopes to the top.

Looking up the steep, steep gully

Larch colors even in July

Made the ridge above the Baker Lake Gully

The start of a series of snow fields

Looking down our BIG mistake of 2 years ago

Alpine Larch (Larix lyallii) on the flanks of Trapper Peak

The living and dead alpine larch

From snow and ice into streams, and eventually oceans

Pink mountain heather (Phyllodoce empetriformes) in full bloom

A swath of moonscape in the lower alpine

The Peak

Jeff crossing yet another snow field

The saddle between the false summit (right) and the true summit (left)

That is only the false peak…relax

Agility and grace…really

Always taking a break, even on top of the Bitteroot Mountain’s highest peak

Chilling on top of Trapper Peak

The jagged network of peaks, ridges, and deep canyons that are the Bitterroot Mountains from Trapper Peak

Alpine Plants of Trapper Peak

Payson’s Whitlow-grass or Payson’s Draba – Draba paysonii

Selway Coil-beaked Lousewort – Pedicularis contorta var. rubicunda

Labrador-tea – Ledum glandulosum

Anderson’s Aster – Oreostemma alpigenum

Ross’ Avens – Geum rossii

Few-flower Shootingstar – Dodecatheon pulchellum

Eschscholtz’s Buttercup – Ranunculus eschscholtzii

Drummond’s Anemone – Anemone drummondii

Parry’s Primrose – Primula parryi

Parry’s Primrose – Primula parryi

Cutleaf Fleabane – Erigeron compositus

Sky Pilot or Skunk Polemonium – Polemonium viscosum

The Downclimb

Jeff cooling his heels with only a little more than mile left to go down

Muh tootsies

Written by Radd Icenoggle

I am a native Montanan, who has spent a lifetime as an outdoors and wildlife enthusiast. I earned a degree in biology with an emphasis on habitat relations. During my studies, I had the great fortune to research and compose a thesis that explored the effects of slope aspect on...
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