Hidden Montana: Ajax Lake and Ajax Peak 

The secret: A long dirt-road approach to the trailhead dissuades most hikers from attempting this magnificent summit, but they don’t know about the five-star car camping en route.

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Author: themapeditor
Date: 26 Apr 2013 6:21:48 PM
Source: GPX file
Activity: Backpacking
State: Montana (MT)
Distance: 6.66 mi  (Change units)
Average Speed: 1.3 mph - 0:45:05/mi
Duration: 5:00:31
Survey Elevation: Total Gain: 2786 ft
Total Loss: 1326 ft
Net Change: 1460 ft
Difficulty: 5 / 10
USGS Topo Map: Beaverhead-Deerlodge USFS Visitor Map Central West (CW) Region;
Tags: Carmen, Idaho, Montana
Rating: Unrated   Rate it


Slope-side boulder fields and an old wildfire scar make this whole 6.7-mile (round-trip) route open and scenic—from the ruins of a 19th-century silver mine to infinity views at the summit after an easy-to-navigate scramble. Drive in on 25 miles of dirt roads (with camping) and park at the base of a steep climb (just after a hairpin right turn). Hike up the now-4WD road 1.9 miles to broad, deep Ajax Lake (with good fishing for lake trout and cutthroat) and a rundown miner’s cabin on the far shore. Trace the shoreline north on a fisherman’s trail. Turn west where a talus fall reaches the water, and hike up naked scree to a lonely, old-growth pine that sits in the bowl beneath the Ajax/point 9,522 saddle. Keep climbing west 780 vertical feet to gain the ridgeline. Turn north and climb 500 feet of class 2 talus, then boulder-hop to the roof-gable summit, with vistas north and south along the spine of the Beaverheads. Strong hikers can descend back to the saddle and follow cairns south along the class 2 ridge to bag point 10,042 as well.

TO TRAILHEAD: 68 miles northwest of Dillon; 45.351303, -113.695633

Position Format: Datum:


Distance: 0.75 mi Points: 125
Total Time: none Speed: 0.0 mph Pace: 0:00 / mi
Active Time: none Speed: 0.0 mph Pace: 0:00 / mi


Distance: 5.92 mi Points: 305
Total Time: 5:00:31 Speed: 1.2 mph Pace: 50:47 / mi
Active Time: none Speed: 1.2 mph Pace: 50:47 / mi

Points of Interest


Location: 45.351303, -113.695633
End of the road for 2WD vehicles. Park along the road and continue on foot.


Location: 45.339743, -113.716522
Junction with the Continental Divide Trail


Location: 45.335303, -113.720288
Keep right


Location: 45.331408, -113.724480
Old miners cabin


Location: 45.330820, -113.725317
Ajax Lake


Location: 45.325913, -113.726989
Lovely Jeep campsite


Location: 45.326843, -113.731166
Begin climbing west-northwest toward the lone conifer.


Location: 45.328023, -113.734433
Reach the lone conifer. Look here for the user trail heading west-southwest to the ridge.


Location: 45.326778, -113.736752
Reach the ridge and continue over to class 2 talus to the summit.


Location: 45.331181, -113.738408
Ajax Peak (10,028 ft)

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