Hidden Montana: Heart Lake and Homer Youngs Peak 

The secret: Idyllic elk meadows and an imposing summit lie just a few miles from a little-used trailhead.

Our Apps

Map Tools

Share Trip
  • E-mail Trip
  • Embed Map
  • Social Bookmarks
    more bookmarks...

Download To

Create a Trip
* Requires a Trip Planner or Elite Membership
Author: themapeditor
Date: 26 Apr 2013 6:09:30 PM
Source: GPX file
Activity: Backpacking
State: Montana (MT)
Distance: 12.22 mi  (Change units)
Survey Elevation: Total Gain: 3903 ft
Total Loss: 3884 ft
Net Change: 20 ft
Difficulty: 5 / 10
USGS Topo Map: Beaverhead-Deerlodge USFS Visitor Map Central West (CW) Region;
Tags: Carmen, Idaho, Montana
Rating: Unrated   Rate it

 Maybe the reason so few people know about the upland beauty here is the ordinary approach. But a few miles into this 12.2-mile (round-trip) overnight trek, the scenery begins: tranquil ponds, rolling meadows, and a treeline view of the vast, open ridgelines of Homer Youngs Peak. Let most people be fooled; you’ll share this spot with elk and black bears instead. Start where Trail 187 leaves the Upper Miners Lake Road (the second unsigned two-track that climbs north after Miners Lake Campground). At mile 1.9, trace the brook upstream along a faint trail (402) for 1.4 miles to reed-filled Kelly Lake, set in a subalpine cirque surrounded by gray cliffs. Round the lake to the south and climb another 1.4 miles up the Kelly Creek drainage as evergreens shrink and views grow, making toward a saddle due east of Heart Lake. The entire timberline region here offers scenic camping, accessible water, and enough evidence of black bears to make food canisters a good idea. To add a summit view to your trip, go off-trail atop the rocky ridgeline at mile 4.8. After 1.3 miles and 1,200 vertical feet of class 2 talus, you’ll earn a view across the wrinkled topography of the Continental Divide. If water is more your scene, descend a steep boulder slope to Heart Lake.

TO TRAILHEAD: 121 miles southwest of Butte; 45.308164, -113.603904

Position Format: Datum:


Distance: 6.04 mi Points: 452
Total Time: none Speed: 0.0 mph Pace: 0:00 / mi
Active Time: none Speed: 0.0 mph Pace: 0:00 / mi

Homer Youngs Peak - back

Distance: 6.19 mi Points: 457
Total Time: -4:-50:-24 Speed: 0.0 mph Pace: 0:00 / mi
Active Time: none Speed: 0.0 mph Pace: 0:00 / mi

Points of Interest


Location: 45.317598, -113.585363


Location: 45.307457, -113.601743
Turn R onto Trail 187 from Upper Miner's Lake Road.


Location: 45.308164, -113.603904
Tricky spot. Follow the trail up and to the right.


Location: 45.315723, -113.610024
Turn left onto faint, unmaintained Trail 402 along the creek.


Location: 45.310057, -113.635739
Kelly Lake


Location: 45.308924, -113.636065
Climb the Kelly Creek drainage to the ridgeline.


Location: 45.308197, -113.636848
Follow the user trail southwest. The timberline parklands here offer great and scenic camping.


Location: 45.309272, -113.659196
Descent slope to Heart Lake.


Location: 45.308422, -113.659590
Turn southwest, following the ridgeline over class 2 talus to point 9,866.


Location: 45.304173, -113.665624
Swing northwest along the ridge toward the summit.


Location: 45.310979, -113.677254
Homer Youngs Peak (10,621 ft)

Comparable Trips

Comments  Post a comment
0 Trip Comments