Saturday, January 10, 2015

Gorgeous scenery with little effort on Front's Jones Creek

The ski up the Jones Creek bottom
The mountains northwest of Choteau in the Teton Canyon are the heart of the Rocky Mountain Front.
We were looking for an easy ski Saturday and found it in Jones Creek, a National Recreation Trail No. 155 there.
It was an easy ski up the bottom on this largely unmarked trail that used to be a road.
Mountains rise steeply in all directions.  There's Choteau Mountain to the east, Cave Mountain to the south, and unnamed divides to the west and north.
The skyline

Large blocky, unnamed mountain to the east

Southern skyline
We traveled about 4 miles north and turned around, gaining 890 feet over that distance, before turning around to complete this 8 mile run.
This is a drainage that gets lots of wind and the snow had a windcrust on it. Once broken, it provided a fast track back in powder.
A cloudy sky yielded to a peekaboo sun that made the snow caps pop.
We talked about what a great backpack this trail would make, where we could quickly set up a camp and walk connecting ridgelines in all directions.
I tried to locate the West Fork Trail No. 156, and while I didn't find any markers, could figure out where to ascend that creek when I return.

Click here for more detail and map of this hike: Jones Creek bottom

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